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'There is no nuclear deal on table'

Energy Minister David Mahlobo says the procurement process will begin only once Cabinet approves the revised Integrated Resource Plan he’s been accused of rushing through.

FILE: Minister of Energy David Mahlobo. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Energy Minister David Mahlobo has told Parliament there is no nuclear deal on the table, but he says this does not mean the country is not going to have more nuclear power.

Mahlobo’s challenged those wanting to launch legal action to stop any nuclear power deal to go ahead but he says the government will simply inform the court that it has not yet started the procurement process.

Mahlobo appeared before Parliament’s energy committee on Tuesday.

He was asked why he was rushing to get sign-off on the Integrated Resource Plan, which puts nuclear in the country’s future energy mix, ahead of the African National Congress’ elective conference in December and if he knew of anyone in government who’s received money related to the nuclear deal.

“I can tell you as honourable members, there is no nuclear deal on the table. But we are not going to say we are not actually going to have nuclear.”

Mahlobo later put it another way: “I don’t know where people are getting it that there is a deal on the table. We’ve not said we’re procuring. But we’ve not said we’re not going to procure.”

Mahlobo says the procurement process will begin only once Cabinet approves the revised Integrated Resource Plan he’s been accused of rushing through.

He says he’s pushing it because department officials have taken too long to incorporate public feedback into the document.

Mahlobo’s also told Members of Parliament (MPs) to report to law enforcement agencies any information they may have about money changing hands with regards to the nuclear deal.

He’s told MPs he’s made mistakes, but would never “steal from his people”.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)