Imagine revolutionaries controlling the only n…

On the way to Cape Town, I pass through Somerset West. On the south side of the N2 there is what I assume is a scrap metal foundry. There is always a great mound of mutilated metal and car bodies crushed into squares and ready for the foundries. Sometimes I smile, a wry smile, and imagine that the scrap heap represents the detritus of South African businesses and public agencies.

Further down the N2, I drift into the slow lane to avoid the maddening rush of minibus taxis forcing drivers out of the fast lane and speeding up, clearly in violation of several traffic laws. Often these taxis have “windows” which are basically sheets of plastic taped in place with brown tape, broken lights and rickety fixtures. What always seems to be in perfect working order is the music; thundering rhythms…

Once in Cape Town, I am still captivated by the beauty and tranquility of Table Bay as I drive along Philip Kgosana Drive, which has always been, at least since I was 14 when I visited Cape Town for the first time, my favorite route. The beauty and tranquility seen from above are quickly disturbed when I remember that a little to the north, along the west coast, is the Koeberg nuclear power plant, and it is managed by the nomenklatura of the liberation movement that governs us. I am thinking of the legality of patchwork repairs and rickety taxis. I think of that pile of junk and the ruins of businesses and state agencies across the country.

Imagine Koeberg in the hands of the revolutionaries

Shaken from my reverie as I drive along Philip Kgosana Drive, I feel a sudden horripilation that Koeberg could end up like Prasa, the post office, Eskom, Denel and so on, all in various states of collapse held together with duct tape like a rickety minibus taxi, and on that scrap mound I always see along the N2, ready for the foundries.

I imagine the genius of fake doctorates and engineersthe fallen angels and a host of indispensable corruptibles: the vision, superior logic and wisdom of Floyd Shivambu, or the I-wrote-my-own-doctoral-thesis Mbuyiseni Ndlozi being in charge of the Koeberg nuclear power plant. I also remember Ace Magashule’s Dictate that the loyal cadres of the liberation movement which governs us should not vote according to their conscience but on the basis of what the ANC expects.

To better understand the horror when followers of Marxism-Leninism and Lenin’s democratic centralism take control of a nuclear power plant, we can go back to April 1986 and the Chernobyl disaster. One of the main reasons the disaster unfolded the way it did was that the factory’s top decision makers were loyal to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and reluctant to act on their conscience.

Remember Magashule’s dictate. We should be clear; the former Soviet Union had the technology. A country that can send a person into space isn’t exactly lacking in technological knowledge – although in the 1980s the Soviet Union fell behind the rest of the world.

Blame White Monopoly Capital and Western Imperialists

Therein lies a second problem: the Soviet Union was opposed to international collaboration and transparency. This finds an echo in the liberation movement that governs us, the revolutionaries (like Irvin Jim of Numsa) and the EFF’s aversion to cooperation with liberal internationalists, “bourgeois capitalists”, “imperialists” and the “white monopoly capital”.

It is important to remember (as Milan Zgersky of the Moscow Law Academy reminded us) that the former Soviet Union “was the only nuclear country in the world without its own laws regulating the use of nuclear energy and its safety”.

In the lexicon of the EFF, the RET and much of the liberation movement that governs us, international collaboration with liberal internationalists or anyone associated with “white monopoly capital” or “imperialism” is not not to mention the CPSU ignoring what Zgersky described as “laws regulating the use of nuclear energy and its safety”. Besides, the Soviet political bureau knew that there were technical and design problems at Chernobyl, but chose to ignore them.

If the CPSU had been transparent, had collaborated internationally, and if the head of the factory had actually heeded the advice of real engineers – rather than toeing the party line (remember Magashule’s diktat) – it is possible that Chernobyl could have been stopped, and the catastrophe averted.

Declassified Ukrainian archives showed that in the hours before the Chernobyl explosion, the CPSU and KGB were more concerned with threats to image and legitimacy than with the social and political (human) impact of the disaster .

The former Soviet Union was particularly critical and opposed to the free flow of information. With regard to the free press, Vladimir Lenin said he was familiar with Western concepts of freedom of speech and of the press, but saw them as bourgeois notions to be demystified: “What kind of freedom these [bourgeois] newspapers want? Isn’t that the freedom to buy rolls of newsprint and hire crowds of pen pushers? We must escape the freedom of the press dependent on capital. It’s a matter of principle. »

the deliberate refusal of the CPSU to engage in international cooperation “revealed a great disparity in nuclear design and operational safety standards. The first lesson that emerges from Chernobyl is the direct relevance of international cooperation for nuclear safety. The accident also made it clear that nuclear and radiological risks transcend national borders; that…an accident anywhere is an accident everywhere”.

We now know that “what might be called the most positive aspect of the ‘Chernobyl legacy’ is the current global nuclear safety regime. If this level of cooperation had already been in place in the mid-1980s, the Chernobyl accident could undoubtedly have been avoided. According to Muhamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Imagine, now, fake engineers and revolutionaries who will not allow transparency and/or collaboration with liberal internationalists, who see multilateralism as last-day imperialism, who adhere to secrecy and dictates to stick to of the party, and who are openly hostile to a free press, at the control panel of the Koeberg nuclear power plant.

Suddenly this rickety minibus taxi with plastic windows taped over – and state-owned companies on a (metaphorical) junk heap awaiting foundries, bribery, shortcuts and self-absolution of wrongdoing – closer to South Africa’s only nuclear power plant in nightmare.

Since the Chernobyl disaster, international cooperation has become a hallmark of nuclear safety with countless peer reviews, safety upgrades, bilateral and multilateral assistance efforts, safety conventions and the set of globally recognized safety standards. Bear in mind that there is a growing trend among revolutionaries and their academic lickers that South Africa and Africa need to “decouple” from the global political economy and the institutions on which it is built. DM

Thelma J. Longworth