Civil society groups hold vigil to mark Chernobyl disaster in C Town

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI) together with its partners, Earthlife Africa, and the Koeberg Alert Alliance, among others, held a vigil in front of Parliament in Cape Town.

This is to mark the 7th anniversary of the landmark court ruling against the then-proposed Russian Nuclear Deal and to commemorate 38 years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The organisations say it’s a cautionary tale of the destructive capabilities of nuclear energy and they want to educate the public about the threat of what they call, unsuitable energy sources.

The Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute was instrumental in the court case that found the agreement between South Africa and Russia, to build nuclear reactors, unlawful in 2017.

On Friday, it gathered with a number of organisations to highlight what it deems the dangers of nuclear energy.

Expressing concern over Eskom as an institution, it said nuclear energy is very expensive, volatile, and has toxic by-products.

Commemoration of Chernobyl Disaster | Civil society groups hold vigil in front of parliament

SAFCEI’s Campaigns Coordinator, Maia Nangle says, “Eskom is also not fulfilling its job even in terms of providing electricity to the people, so how can Eskom be running a nuclear power station that is such a potentially dangerous form of energy and then additionally to that government wants to procure 2500 megawatts of new nuclear power. We know that this is such an expensive journey to embark on when we should be investing into new renewable forces of energy such as wind and solar.”

The groups say renewable energy, like wind and solar, is a much better alternative.

Vainola Makan from the Surplus People’s Project says, “More of our people will get jobs. The young people can be trained not already to be skilled in solar power and in that way, we can have electricity. At the moment, we struggle. Just a month ago, we had everyday load shedding. And that is the future for South Africa where we can restore our power, we can restore our people’s power and we can make sure that our budget is spent on food, on education, on health and on uplifting the young people of our country.”

SAFCEI wouldn’t comment at this stage, on whether or not it would approach the courts again in the future.