Lavrov dismisses claims Moscow played role in Zuma Cabinet reshuffle

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says there is no proof to these claims and they show there is no limit to fantasies.

FILE: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Picture: CNN

JOHANNESBURG - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says allegations that Moscow played a hand in President Jacob Zuma’s recent Cabinet reshuffle are fantasy.

Lavrov told a briefing at the association of European business in Russia on Tuesday morning that his government has also been accused of meddling in elections in the US and Europe.

He says there is no proof to these claims and they show there is no limit to fantasies.

New Energy Minister David Mahlobo has warned against speculating about his recent appointment.

President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday saw State Security Minister Mahlobo moved to the Energy Ministry and Bongani Bongo taking over State Security.

Mahlobo's appointment has heightened speculation that Zuma is trying to push through the nuclear deal with Russia before his term ends in 2019, a deal that is set to benefit him and his family.

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.

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.

Mahlobo has not responded to the allegations.