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Former President Jacob Zuma pushed for a nuclear deal with Russia that could have cost SA more than R1 trillion as early as 2011, according to public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan. In an affidavit filed at the Zondo Commission into state capture, where he will give evidence later this month, Gordhan has revealed how Zuma met him over the need for nuclear energy in 2013, during his first stint as finance minister. During that meeting, Gordhan says, the then president “indicated that South Africa needed nuclear power and that a process should be initiated to procure it”. The potential deal with Russia, at a time when experts were arguing that nuclear was neither needed nor affordable was at the centre of much of the political intrigue and allegations of corruption during the Zuma era, and would be a factor in the firing of two finance ministers. The removals shook confidence in SA, fueled a slump in the rand and wiped billions of rand off the value of the country’s companies as ...

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