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With President Jacob Zuma’s pet project to build six to eight nuclear reactors pushed onto the back burner by a resistant public, two reluctant finance ministers and a disapproving high court, two new projects along similar lines have come back onto the agenda. The first is a proposal for the construction of a dam on the Mzimvubu River in the Eastern Cape. The second is the construction of a 125km railway link along the Moloto Corridor from Mpumalanga into Gauteng. The estimated price tag for the dam is R16bn, while the railway is pegged at R57bn. These two projects have long been discussed, but of all the infrastructure development projects that make up the 18 Strategic Infrastructure Projects, carefully selected by the presidential infrastructure co-ordinating commission, they are possibly the two most contentious. The Department of Water and Sanitation’s own documents have made it clear that, as it is conceived, the dam will never be financially viable. It will also not meet soci...

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