WoMin & International Rivers Call on RSA Parliament to Halt Funding to Grand Inga Project

parliamentary presentation 6112019WoMin African Alliance and International Rivers presented a joint submission to the South African Parliament calling for them to carry out their oversight role and stop government funding to the Grand Inga Dam Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Expressing “embarrassment” that it was the first time the Grand Inga project, its feasibility and risks, had been tabled at Parliament, chairperson of the Select Committee on Finance, Yunus Carrim pledged to put the recommendations into their report.

The South African government committed the country to buying 2500MW of electricity from the Inga hydropower project and paying for transmission lines from the DRC to South Africa through a signed treaty and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DRC government. The country’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) further confirmed this commitment. On October 30, 2019, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni made his Medium Term Budget Statement (MTBS) policy statement, “declaring on the one hand the dire state of the economy, and on the other giving funds to the project for at least 50 visits to African states for hydropower.”

All the above would be undertaken with debt-ridden Eskom as the deal’s anchor. The state owned enterprise has already landed South Africa in R450 billion debt and has enjoyed multiple bailouts from Treasury, including one from the latest MTBS to the tune of R26 billion. The burden—should Eskom put in significant funds and then fail to pay—will fall on the State.

The stakes demand parliament halt any further funding to the Inga project until its feasibility can be fully assessed. WoMin and International Rivers recommendations are: 

  • The Committees should recommend to the National Assembly that the Department of Energy disclose what part of its budget is to be spent on the development of the Grand Inga Dam Project, before the funds related the Department of Energy budget are approved.

Parliament is required to promote effective financial management by the executive. Given the absence of comprehensive information about the expenditure on, and cost of the Grand Inga Dam Project Parliament will be unable to discharge this constitutional obligation.

  • The Committees should recommend that the Budget Facility for Infrastructure (BFI) conduct a project appraisal and rigorously assess the feasibility, risks and proposed financing arrangements.
  • Parliament is obligated to promote and ensure transparency in procurement, and in national, provincial and municipal budgetary processes. It should recommend that the Department of Energy act in a more transparent manner, providing adequate information to the public and Parliament as to its intentions and the decisions being taken regarding the proposed infrastructure investments. Only then can Parliament properly exercise its constitutionally mandated oversight role.
  • No funds or loan guarantees should be approved for expenditure on the Grand Inga Dam Project until Eskom has demonstrated that it is a financially sustainable State Owned Enterprise.

 

 READ the full Submission to the Standing and Select Committees on Finance Proposed Energy Infrastructure Investments in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement 2019.

WATCH Trusha Reddy (WoMin African Alliance) presenting the submission on:

   

Read more about this issue:

AllAfrica.com | Congo-Kinshasa: Why South Africa’s Parliament Must Cut Off Funding to Grand Inga Dam Project by Rudo Sanyanga (International Rivers) and Trusha Reddy (WoMin African Alliance)

Stop Inga Campaign