During the final years of former president Jacob Zuma’s term in office, the prospect of SA concluding a nuclear deal with Russia worth an estimated R1.42-trillion became the stuff of apocalyptic nightmares. Like the unseen monsters that lurk under children’s beds, the response to the potential deal was characterised by huge amounts of fear and little information. That anxiety centred on the cost of the proposed 9.6GW project, which would reportedly have meant repaying R100bn a year on the R1.42-trillion loan. It was, in the view of ratings agencies and economic experts alike, an arrangement tantamount to financial suicide. But Zuma, who has now confirmed that he pushed for the deal with Russia to be concluded during his nine-year term, has a very different take. "All that people could say was: ‘The thing is expensive, will we afford it?’," he told Business Day/FM in an exclusive interview last week. "But the fact of the matter is nuclear could solve our problems once and for all. No...

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