'I don't want to go to prison,' says new energy minister on nuclear plans
'Am I here to implement wrong decisions? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t want to see myself in prison. I have a three-month- old baby. Sandile [my son] needs me. I have a family'
Energy minister Mmamoloko Kubayi has pledged not to bungle the country’s nuclear build programme, or take illegal decisions.
Kubayi, the youngest member of President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet at the age of 39, has revealed she was on the verge of quitting politics permanently at the beginning of the year when she was on maternity leave.
Kubayi considered quitting at a time when the ANC had taken a beating at the elections and after Thoko Didiza’s failed campaign for the Tshwane mayorship, which she had led in August last year.
But Kubayi said her love for the ANC and desire to serve the public had made her stay on.
And that loyalty was rewarded when President Jacob Zuma made her a cabinet minister in his controversial reshuffle at the end of March.
All eyes are now on Kubayi to see how she will deal with the nuclear build programme, which was handled poorly by her predecessor Tina-Joemat Pettersson whose actions have been declared unlawful and unconstitutional by the High Court.
It has been claimed the reshuffle took place at the behest of the Gupta family who want to benefit from the nuclear procurement process.
“Am I here to implement wrong decisions? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t want to see myself in prison. I have a three-month- old baby. Sandile [my son] needs me. I have a family. Imagine if I’m going to take wrong decisions now. When am I going to reach 60? I still have a long way to go,” said Kubayi. The former ANC deputy chief whip said she was not in the job to do the Guptas’ bidding
“I will never do that. I have a future. I see myself as a professional.”
Kubayi said she had called for a public debate on the nuclear build programme, in which she would engage experts to argue the case for nuclear.
Seen as a rising star in the ANC and someone with an independent mind, Kubayi has dismissed claims she had been co-opted into the pro-Zuma faction.
“I’ve been a parliamentary councillor for Kgalema Motlanthe. If people are to say factions, I don’t know what that means.”