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Outa to head to court if nuclear deal is illegal

Outa says it agrees with Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba that South Africa is not able to carry the financial burden of a nuclear programme.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says it’s ready to fight if speculation of a dodgy nuclear deal with Russia is true.

Outa says it agrees with Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba that South Africa is not able to carry the financial burden of a nuclear programme.

This follows a Sunday Times report that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government-influenced last week’s cabinet reshuffle to ensure his country bags the contract.

Outa says it won’t hesitate to take the matter to court if it finds an illegal nuclear deal.

The group’s head of Energy Ted Blom says: “It’s just unaffordable. Anything above R250 billion for 10 gigawatts is just totally unaffordable and that could lead to the country being ripped off again.”

Blom says clearly there’s a vacuum of communication between the Finance Minister and the president.

“On one hand, the Finance Minister seems to be making the right noises but those noises aren’t getting to the president.”

Reports suggest Zuma appears to be going ahead with the nuclear deal, brushing aside party and government conventions to finalize it before the African National Congress (ANC)’s elective conference in December.

MAHLOBO PART OF THE DEAL

The paper reported that the instruction given to Zuma from this so-called top team is that he speed up and conclude a multibillion-dollar nuclear deal with the Russians.

In a surprise move, the president announced another Cabinet reshuffle, his second one this year.

At the same time, energy experts say that the appointment of David Mahlobo as Energy Minister is suspicious.

A source has told the paper that a top-level team from Russia sent by Putin gave a final warning to the South African authorities.

According to the source, while many in the Cabinet are believed to have been recommended by the Guptas, Mahlobo was chosen by the Russians.

It’s suggested that Zuma had wanted to appoint Faith Muthambi for the post but the Russians convinced Zuma to consider Mahlobo instead.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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