In this issue:

Eskom To Build All South African Nuclear Power Plants

Pope Benedict XVI Receives Sudanese President

New Anti-Government Rebel Group Emerges in Northern Sudan

From Volume 6, Issue 38 of EIR Online, Published Sept. 18, 2007
Africa News Digest

Eskom To Build All South African Nuclear Power Plants

Sept. 10 (EIRNS)—The South African Cabinet meeting of Sept. 5, resolved that Eskom (the state electrical power utility) will build all nuclear power plants in South Africa, according to the South African Press Agency (SAPA), citing the cabinet memorandum of the meeting, which was published today.

The government plans to increase the portion of power generated by nuclear plants from the present 6%, to at least 30% by 2030, which will add 20,000 MW of generating capacity.

South Africa is committed to building at least one more conventional nuclear power station, which is scheduled to be operational by 2012. After that, the mostly state-owned pebble-bed modular reactor program (PBMR) will begin with the construction of up to 24 small, 165 MW nuclear plants by 2030. The department of public enterprises said foreign investors would be able to buy into the PBMR company, but the stations would be owned and operated by Eskom, according to the SAPA release.

Eskom is investigating sites for its next nuclear power station at Thyspunt, near Cape St. Francis in Eastern Cape, at Bantamsklip, near Pearly Beach in Western Cape, and at Port Nolloth or Kleinsee, in Northern Cape.

The same cabinet meeting appointed Eskom to be the sole buyer of power from independent power producers, according to government spokesman Themba Maseko, as reported in the online "Business Report," Sept. 6.

Maseko said the policy was meant to ensure that the responsibility and accountability for the construction of power generation capacity was coordinated, and provided certainty to the private providers. He added that over the next 20 years, Independent Power Providers would build more than 50% of all non-nuclear power plants.

Maseko pointed out that the Minerals and Energy Department would develop an integrated resource plan to define the magnitude of power generation capacity needed to meet the country's electricity demands.

According to a South Africa Broadcasting Corporation report Sept. 6, citing Eskom chief executive officer Jacob Maroga, Eskom has warned that South Africa may face more power failures and supply shortages next Winter.

Pope Benedict XVI Receives Sudanese President

Sept. 14 (EIRNS)—The Vatican Press Office reports that Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed El-Bashir was received this morning by Pope Benedict XVI. The President also met with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states, who until last year, was apostolic nuncio in Khartoum.

They discussed the political situation in Darfur, and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between northern and southern Sudan, which had ended a long civil war.

The communique stated that positive views were expressed concerning the new peace negotiations for Darfur, which are to begin Oct. 27 in Libya: "It is the Holy See's heartfelt hope that these negotiations prove successful in order to put an end to the suffering and insecurity of those peoples, ensuring them the humanitarian assistance to which they have the right, and initiating development projects."

They also discussed "the importance of inter-religious dialogue and of collaboration between believers in all religions—in particular Christians and Muslims—for the promotion of peace and the common good. In this context, the positive role of the Catholic Church and her institutions in Sudanese society was reiterated, especially in the field of education."

New Anti-Government Rebel Group Emerges in Northern Sudan

Sept. 14 (EIRNS)—A recently formed rebel group in Sudan, called the Kush Liberation Front, is calling for armed resistance to overthrow the central government, which it accuses of oppressing Nubians, according to the Aug. 31 Los Angeles Times.

The unrest was kicked off by a government proposal to build two or three electricity-producing dams on the Nile River in the Nubian heartland, about 350 miles north of Khartoum, and about 100 miles from the Egyptian border. Having a separate language and culture, the Nubians are thought to be one of Africa's oldest civilizations. Nubian kings reigned over Egypt for a time around 730 BC.

The dams would force many of the 300,000 Nubians to relocate, and would submerge many unexplored Nubian archeological sites. Nubians reportedly see the new dams as a plot by Arab governments in Egypt and Sudan to exterminate their communities and seize the land, according to the Times.

The co-founder of the liberation movement is Abdelwahab Adem, a former Nubian businessman now based in London, who said: "Our efforts will not succeed unless they are backed by military action. We want to get rid of the Arabs. Our goal is to realize a new Sudan, by force if necessary." He said they would rely on "guerrilla fighting," and would target Khartoum and other large Sudanese cities.

Adem said "We have good relations with our brothers in Darfur," and some reports indicate that the Darfur rebels are a potential source of weapons and training for the Kush Liberation Front.

Chinese engineers are already installing equipment at one of the sites, which the government says is only a feasibility study, but the Nubians think it is the beginning of the project.

The foreign affairs chairman in Sudan's parliament, Osman Khalid Mudawi, said: "It's going to economically transform the area." He thought a lake created by the dam would irrigate 750,000 acres of newly arable land.

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