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Still no clarity on SA, Russia nuclear deal

The announcement reinforced suspicions behind President Jacob Zuma's recent lengthy visit to Russia.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, on 28 August, 2014. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - There are still no clear answers about South Africa's multi-billion rand nuclear agreement with Russia, raising concerns about transparency and the bidding process.

Yesterday, it was announced that Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson had signed a deal with Russia's Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation to procure 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2030.

The announcement reinforced suspicions behind President Jacob Zuma's recent lengthy visit to Russia.

Energy expert Chris Yelland says the press releases don't offer enough information about the agreement that was reached.

"There should be an open, transparent, fair and competitive procurement process and we certainly haven't seen anything like that yet, leading one to think that what we're seeing are actually intergovernmental cooperation agreements."

At the same time, The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is concerned by the agreement and wants it to be scrutinised in Parliament.

DA Member of Parliament Lance Greyling said, "We are extremely concerned because we believe that if South Africa is to go ahead with this nuclear build programme, we need to have a completely transparent public procurement process where all countries are invited to submit competitive bids at the very least."

The R111 billion deal was signed on Monday but experts say if it's not a transparent process , it will be another arms deal.

The deal is also expected to create thousands of jobs.