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Reports: Russian delegation met with Zuma before Cabinet reshuffle

The 'Sunday Times' is reporting 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.

FILE: Russian President Vladimir Putin and former South African President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – A top team acting on direct orders from Russian President Vladimir Putin is reported to have met with President Jacob Zuma just before the surprise Cabinet reshuffle last week.

The Sunday Times is reporting 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 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.

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

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)