Eskom CEO Brian Dames on Wednesday testified before the portfolio committee on public enterprises as part of the inquiry into state capture at state-owned enterprises.
Dames was asked if it was beneficial to build new nuclear power stations in South Africa. He responded to MPs by saying that not only were the stations unnecessary, but they were also too expensive.
“There is absolutely no need for [new] nuclear… we have no need for it. Secondly, I don’t think we can afford it,” he said.
This comment follows the Cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma, which saw David Mahlobo leave behind his post as security minister, as he was appointed energy minister.
There has been speculation that Zuma’s move is a tactic to secure a nuclear deal for $1 trillion. Reports suggest that Russian nuclear agency Rosatom is the frontrunner to win the contract.
At the beginning of his testimony, Dames stated it was too late for the inquiry. “You should have done this a long time ago. This committee inquiry is commendable. But too late, you should have done this a long time ago.”
Dames started career with Eskom in 1987 and served as the CEO from 2010 before calling it quits in 2014.