Treasury shoots down nuclear deal allegations

Cape Town – National Treasury on Sunday set the record straight on news that was circulating on social media of a nuclear deal allegedly signed by incoming Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

ANC member Sibusisiwe Mngadi had alleged on Facebook earlier on Sunday that “the nuclear deal deadline was last night” and that Gigaba had signed it.

She also alleged that President Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma would benefit from nuclear plants being built.

“Khulubuse Zuma is the SA holding company for the Nuclear plants. The next 20yrs Khulubuse Zuma will be making more than 50billion. Congratulations, mission accomplished,” she alleged on the post.

Mngadi listed her occupations as a researcher and part-time lecturer at University of KZN in Pietermaritzburg, and an area manager at Msunduzi Municipality.

Some of her followers asked her for proof to support her claims. She replied that people should do their own digging, alluding only to a “parliament document that was signed yesterday”.

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor also entered the fray on her personal Facebook profile page, seeming to support the allegations.

“Gigaba signed the Nuclear Deal Last night. It will be R6 trillion with over-runs. All South Africans are now Officially slaves of the Russians, and thus will be the case for the next 100 years,” Mentor alleged.

National Treasury issued a series of tweets on the matter on Sunday night.

“The Minister arrived (on) Friday and has not yet gone beyond boardrooms where he met management and later had a telecon with rating agencies,” the treasury account stated.

“He is formally occupying his office tomorrow and will have a briefing meeting with the outgoing Minister Pravin Gordhan in the morning. There are no documents of deals ready for signature on nuclear. Therefore the reports are misleading and mischievous.”

Gigaba’s spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete also took to Twitter to say he had signed “not a single thing”, not even to sign off for the printing of his business cards.

He said Gigaba had not even received any documents from the Director-General.

“Sadly, we must now release a statement to deny fake news, then the story will be about the denial,” he lamented.

In government’s updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2016, which is still under discussion, it intends to add 20 385MW units of nuclear power to the national grid, Fin24 reported.

This will make up approximately one-third of South Africa’s total generation mix.

On December 20, 2016, Eskom, which has taken over from the Department of Energy as owner and operator of the proposed nuclear build programme, issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the procurement of nuclear energy. Comment is currently open for the Request for Proposal (RFP) until April 28.

The RFP is expected to be issued to the market place by the middle of the year and in 2018 Eskom and the Nuclear Energy Corporation SA (Necsa) will choose their preferred bidders and negotiate and finalise contracts.

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