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Energy Dept say Mahlobo meeting with Russian counterpart a courtesy call

The EFF’s Floyd Shivambu implied that the meeting with the Russians was simply to close the nuclear deal and warned the new administration must stop this.

David Mahlobo hosted his counterpart from the Russia Federation Minister Sergei Donsky on 8 February 2018. Picture: Twitter/ @Energy_ZA

JOHANNESBURG - The Energy Department has dismissed comments made by the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) Floyd Shivambu insinuating that Minister David Mahlobo' s meeting with his Russian counterpart was about a nuclear deal.

Shivambu has suggested the recent postponements of the African National Congress' national executive committee meeting and the State of the Nation Address were meant to close the nuclear deal with the Russians.

Russia's bid for South Africa's nuclear power deal has been in the spotlight for several months now.

The Energy Department says Russia's Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi was in South Africa to attend the Mining Indaba and then paid a courtesy visit to Minister Mahlobo to strengthen relations between the two countries.

Mahlobo was appointed as energy minister during last year's Cabinet reshuffle, it’s a move that's been seen as a way for President Jacob Zuma to push through the nuclear deal.

Shivambu implied that the meeting with the Russians was simply to close the deal and warned the new administration must stop this from going ahead urgently or face consequences.

It's also understood that a meeting scheduled for Tuesday has been cancelled following a request by Mahlobo.

At the same time, Donskoi says his country and South Africa are discussing a roadmap for the usage of platinum group metals.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Donskoi says the need for more active cooperation in the usage of metals was discussed in Cape Town.