Most Kouga councillors support Thyspunt nuclear plan

The majority of Kouga Councillors support the proposal that a nuclear power plant be built at Thyspunt.

This was the outcome of a lively debate about the pros and cons of the proposed Thyspunt development at a meeting of Kouga Council on Monday.

An item on the agenda related to Thyspunt. This follows a request by Eskom to Council to make an ‘in principle’ decision so Eskom can be prepared if National Government gives the go-ahead for the Thyspunt development.

Most of the 26 councillors present favoured approving the development in principle based on economic considerations. They believe potential economic spin-offs of the development will directly and indirectly provide a much-needed lifeline for Kouga’s people.

“Residents are battling financially and Council cannot stand in the way of a project that could give our economy the boost it needs,” Kouga’s mayor, Booi Koerat, said.

Koerat said further public consultation must be undertaken before an official commitment is made. He emphasised that no final plans for Thyspunt were in place yet since the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was still being finalised and a Record of Decision (ROD) was expected next year only.

Koerat said despite the majority view, Council resolved that a final decision will only be made after public consultation.   “The development is a highly emotive issue.

“It’s important our final decision reflects the will of the people and not that of individual councillors. Consequently we resolved that a public participation process must be undertaken before a final commitment is made,” he said.

Koerat advised that that those who had voted against the recommendation “that the development of the proposed Nuclear-1 project of Eskom at the Thyspunt site be approved in principle subject to public participation meetings” were mainly concerned that they were not well enough informed to make a final decision.

He said the municipal administration had consequently been instructed to assist all councillors with their Thyspunt queries to ensure an informed decision is made.

“I urge councillors to do their homework thoroughly and consult their communities extensively before Council meets to make a final decision. As leaders, it is our responsibility to make tough decisions. We cannot sit on the fence indefinitely because we are worried that some might criticise what we decide,” Koerat said.

“This decision might prove to be one of the most important resolutions this Council will make. Let us ensure we make a decision that is in the best interest of our community as a whole.”

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