JOHANNESBURG– South Africa cannot afford large-scale expansion of its nuclear energy programme but will still be open to future nuclear deals with Russia, says Paul Mashatile, the the ruling party’s treasurer-general, said here Thursday shortly before Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived for the 10th BRICS summit.
The nuclear project was prioritised by former President Jacob Zuma but new President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has promised to revive the economy and crack down on corruption since becoming president in February, had shelved the plan for new nuclear power stations, saying the country cannot afford a large-scale nuclear power expansion progra,,e.
As Treasurer-General of the African National Congress (ANC), Mashatile is one of the top six most powerful members in the ruling party which oversees the government’s economic policies.
Speaking at a business breakfast on the sidelines of the three-day BRICS summit which kicked off on Wednesday in Johannesburg, he said Pretoria would not take the Big Bang approach to nuclear energy expansion.
Once we are clear that this is affordable for us to do, we are open for business, including with Russia, said Mashatile. I think the approach we will take is to avoid the Big Bang approach. The initial intervention was that we would do close to 10,000 megawatts … it’s unaffordable, he said.
Mashatile also said the ANC wanted to see more private investment in struggling State-owned power utility Eskom, which swung to a loss for the year to end-March.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK