Former President Jacob Zuma has reportedly said that a potential nuclear deal with Russia would have prevented the country’s energy crisis. The president still stands by that deal as a solution the current Energy crisis.
According to the ex-president, the proposed nuclear deal with Russia, which emerged as a factor behind the firing of two finance ministers and market turmoil during his scandal-hit administration, would have prevented the country’s energy crisis.
The R1-trillion estimated cost of the programme — equivalent to about 60% of government expenditure in the 2018/2019 fiscal year — would not have crippled the economy, he insisted, contradicting experts who said that it was neither necessary nor affordable.
Eskom has been struggling to keep the lights on due to a shortage of generating capacity, blaming corruption, maladministration and a lack of maintenance.
Friday, 22 March, is the first time in a week that the power utility will only implement stage 2 load shedding during the day after seven days of stage 4 rolling blackouts.
The company has warned that things will only get better within the next six months, while President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government will overcome load shedding as it did with apartheid.
In an exclusive interview with Business Day, Zuma says that if the nuclear deal had gone ahead, the country would have spent trillions of rands, but over a shorter period of time, and would have been able to make money in return.
Zuma is adamant that nuclear was the silver bullet solution, which would have been able to solve the country’s energy troubles once and for all.
He says South Africa is now in deep trouble, with increasing debt and no hope to bring it down again.
Earlier in March, former Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas told the state capture commission that before he and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan were fired, most of the hostility was centred around the proposed nuclear deal and issues of expenditure.
Jonas said it got to a point where some of them even feared for their lives.