By Anine Kilian, Contributing Editor
Former South African President Jacob Zuma and his cabinet approved a controversial nuclear build program with Russia in 2015, revealed South Africa’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. The minister testified before a commission of inquiry into state capture under the Zuma administration on Wednesday.
Nene told the commission that his decision not to approve the $100 billion nuclear power deal was the reason he was fired as finance minister in December, 2015. He was re-appointed to the cabinet post in February, 2018.
The nuclear build program would have seen the construction of as many as eight nuclear reactors, which would have the capacity to generate 9,600 MW of energy.
Nene further stated that Zuma was intent on proceeding with the nuclear build program and showed disregard for the financial implications for the country.
The minister’s testimony has implicated other cabinet ministers including former Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, whom he said had a draft letter for him to sign and formalize the deal, then Minister of State Security David Mahlobo as well as International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.