Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan says securing a nuclear procurement deal became then-president Jacob Zuma’s central focus after he was re-elected in 2014. He said it became evident that the former president and the department of energy were pursuing the controversial 2011 deal with the Russians at all costs. The nuclear build programme was put on ice after Earthlife Africa and the Southern Africa Faith Communities' Environmental Institute mounted a successful court challenge to the way in which the state determined the country's nuclear power needs. The plan would have seen SA building nuclear power stations to secure 9‚600MW of extra electrical power at a cost of about R1-trillion.

In 2014, the energy department announced Russian state-owned operator Rosatom as the preferred bidder of the nuclear build programme‚ but was forced to do an about-turn after a public outcry about such a mega-deal not going to tender. Gordhan‚ who openly opposed the nuclear spend‚ was fi...

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