Analysis

Rejoinder to Ramasimong Tsokolibane’s Views on SA’s Energy Policy & Climate Change Mitigation

By Tom Boston

I am at loss as to what to make of the article by Mr Tsokolibane “Nuclear Energy Now and Fusion Later, or Genocide” https://wp.me/p7OMJc-2VWpublished here yesterday.

On one hand he makes a compelling argument as to why South Africa should make judicious use of its coal assets. And that South Africa as a sovereign state should not join the global hysteria of abandoning her coal powered plants under the guise of fighting global warming. The technology is there to minimise carbon dioxide emissions from these plants.

Crucially his argument for aggressive pursuit of nuclear power as essential part of our energy mix is right on point. South Africa has abundance of uranium and thorium which do not need much of enrichment to feed future nuclear power stations. In the main, South Africa must leverage its natural resources to power its economy and the rest of Africa. No one, not even cynics among us will argue against such policy.

It is troubling though to observe the naive belief on the part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration that South Africa can’t afford building nuclear power plants. This is delusional nonsense as the belief is misguided and consequently commercially and technically indefensible.

Painfully this falsehood stems from National Treasury whose policies are controlled from Washington, London and Berlin. These capitals have championed the renewables and IPPS which former Energy Minister Jeff Radebe naively signed on like a lap dog and which places heavy financial burden on Eskom. Similarly Ramaphosa is surrounded by energy advisors who can’t distinguish electron from proton and whose worldview is that anything started by former President Jacob Zuma’s administration must be shut down.

Zuma was a champion of forging nuclear cooperation with Russian and the New Dawn Brigade couldn’t countenance it. Under the guise of financial un-affordability the programme was jettisoned.

Equally, I agree fully with Tsokolibane’s submission that the call to break up Eskom is part of bigger scheme to privatise the utility. It has been on the cards since the coming into power of New Dawn Brigade.

The New Dawn led by Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordaan and President Ramaphosa see SOEs as a nuisance which has no place in the new economic dispensation where the private sector and foreign investors are the toast of South Africa’ s economic revival. Needless to say breaking Eskom won’t solve the fundamental challenges facing the organisation.

Eskom’s problems are by and page due to political intrigues on the part of the ruling party and shareholders’ interference by way of appointing incompetent board and executives. Only in South Africa is it possible for an ex-taxi operator to be a board chairman of a national utility such as as Eskom.

As of writing this piece it has just been announced that a new Eskom CEO has been appointed.Current Nampak boss Andre De Ruyter is the new white Knight to save Eskom and South Africa from doom. Come to think of it, this new CEO has zero experience in running a public utility company. God save our homeland.

On the above points I am fully in agreement with Mr Tsokolibane. What I found unsettling with the article is his characterisation of climate change mitigation as scientific hoax. This coupled with his wild imagination that the proponents of carbon dioxide reduction are agitating for global genocide is both mischievous and disingenuous. Such characterisations come straight from the rule book of right wing ideologues such as the LaRouche movement. As it were Mr Tsokolibane proudly aligns himself to this movement with not so charitable history.

To label LaRouche movement as right wing is an understatement. It is more a cult and a fringe political movement feeding on conspiracy theories to survive. Members of the movement are discouraged from association with non members including family members and friends. The teachings of LaRouche is infallible to the members of this movement. To the LaRouche movement, birth control, population control, climate change are instruments of control by Queen Elizabeth and the Wall Street. Lyndon LaRouche himself abhorred Jazz and rock music and once described President Barack Obama’s health care policy as Nazi inspired.

Perhaps unbeknown to Mr Philip Tsokolibane, LaRouche movement between 1970 and the 1980s had a quasi intelligence outfit which supplied information to the FBI and CIA. And at the height of anti apartheid protests on US University campuses, LaRouche movement was gathering intelligence on students and reporting to the then Apartheid government of South Africa. Let’s not forget the LaRouche movement holds the view that the Royal family in UK is the head of the global drug cartel.

Clearly it is because of Mr Tsokolibane’s association with LaRouche movement that he came hard on young climate change activist Greta Thunberg. It is hugely unfair to label Greta Thunberg as a dupe and being used by Wall Street and the Green Movement. Here is a 15 year old who has put her schooling on hold to raise alarm of the danger of global warming. How dare you call her a dupe and charlatan?

To those of us who believe we are the custodian of the planet Earth and that climate change is an existential threat to human civilisation we can’t thank Greta enough. She and many like her are the future of humanity. Yes South Africa must use it’s natural resources to power its industries and engineer human development but this must be done with due consideration to the environment.

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