The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein ruled on Wednesday that a R5 bn tender Eskom awarded to French nuclear company, Areva, to replace six steam generators at Koeberg power plant was unlawful.

The judgment, passed by Justice Carole Lewis, took issue with Eskom’s decision to award the tender to Avera on “strategic factors” such as Avera being the original manufacturer of equipment at Koeberg.

Despite this delay, Eskom spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe told Eyewitness News the delay will not affect the national grid.

According to Business Day, Eskom also argued that Areva had a detailed schedule for the completion of the job.

Justice Lewis examined whether the tender had been awarded after each bid had been properly evaluated against the criteria Eskom set forth.

“Other considerations are not relevant”, said Justice Lewis who went on to say that Avera being the original manufacturer and having a detailed completion schedule should not have factored into the decision to award the tender.

“Without making these known to either Westinghouse or Areva, and without making them part of the bid evaluation criteria, appears to me to be fundamentally unfair”, said the judge, “the award must thus be set aside”.

During her ruling Justice Lewis stated that the replacement of the generators was vital to the country’s grid and that should the work not be done urgently the energy crisis “would be highly exacerbated”.

Phasiwe has said that Eskom will appeal the ruling as now neither Westinghouse nor Avera is able to move forward with the replacement of the generators.

[Image CC by 2.0 – Jim Sher]