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Mahlobo mute on being ‘chosen’ by Russians

David Mahlobo was moved to the ministry last week during President Jacob Zuma's surprise Cabinet reshuffle.

FILE: Energy Minister David Mahlobo. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - There's still no response from newly installed Energy Minister David Mahlobo about allegations that he was "chosen" by the Russians for the position in order to push through a nuclear deal.

Mahlobo was moved to the ministry last week during President Jacob Zuma's surprise Cabinet reshuffle.

According to the Sunday Times, the move was influenced by Russia's Vladimir Putin to ensure he bags the nuclear deal that Zuma is allegedly pushing to be finalised before the African National Congress’ elective conference in December.

The Presidency has referred all questions about the nuclear deal and the Russian’s alleged influence to the Energy Department.

Department officials have not yet responded, but serious questions continue to be raised about Mahlobo's appointment and whether he is working closely with President Putin to ensure the deal goes through.

Civil action group Outa says it won't hesitate to take the matter to court if it finds that the nuclear deal is illegal, saying it agrees with Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba that South Africa isn't able to carry the financial burden of a nuclear programme.

In a meeting last week, Putin's team apparently told Zuma to speed up and conclude the multi-billion-dollar deal and just hours after that gathering the latest Cabinet reshuffle took place.