The international nuclear deal between South African government and the government of Russia has sparked up concerns from stakeholders and some relevant institutions in the country.

However, the South African government is under no obligation to get public approval for a nuclear agreement it signed with Russia, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

State advocate Marius Oosthuizen SC said a court was also not allowed to get involved in a dispute over whether the public is allowed to have a say, as it was about a “nonjusticiable” international agreement.

It did not even need approval from Parliament at the moment, Oosthuizen argued, citing a previous Constitutional Court case which found that it was the members of the executive who are responsible for international matters.

In any event, the Russian nuclear treaty was not a procurement contract, said Oosthuizen – it was  just a statement of intent, which gave Russia veto rights.

“This agreement isn’t an implementation of that plan. It’s an agreement to create an environment, a foundation for implementing that plan,” said Oosthuizen.

But Judge Lee Bozalek said the wording of the agreement appeared to go way beyond an agreement to co-operate, and instead appeared as a statement of intent, which included discussions on special tax arrangements.