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South African Supreme Court rule on major Nuclear Power generating projects


Westinghouse Electric Belgium Societé Anonyme has succeeded in reversing a High Court refusal to grant the judicial review of Africa's largest tender for nuclear power generators.

A unanimous South African Supreme Court of Appeal held that the procurement process applied by Eskom (the biggest producer of electrical power in sub-Saharan African) was so flawed as to vitiate the R4 billion award. 

After technical experts engaged in the process had proposed that the tender be awarded to Westinghouse – which had supplied the original design for the Koeberg reactor near Cape Town – Eskom's Bid Committee performed what the Court termed a complete volte face. A number of "strategic considerations" which had not featured in the bid criteria, and the nature of which had not been disclosed to bidders, were invoked by the Bid Committee to justify the award of the tender to Westinghouse's French rival, Areva NP.

Writing for the Court, Lewis JA set aside the award in its entirety, and ordered that it be remitted for a fresh decision.

The matter had proceeded through the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal in a series of hearings since February 2015. 

The judment is here.

Jeremy Gauntlett SC of Brick Court Chambers led a team of three counsel for Westinghouse.