19 February 2019

South Africa: Zuma's Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink Nuclear Meeting With Pravin Gordhan, Lungisa Fuzile

analysis

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan allegedly warned then president Jacob Zuma that unless done properly, a nuclear deal would make the arms deal scandal look like a Sunday school picnic.

Former President Jacob Zuma allegedly called then minister of finance Pravin Gordhan and his director general, Lungisa Fuzile, to a meeting with a nuclear physicist to secure backing for the controversial nuclear deal.

This was before any formal cost processes had been undertaken to make this unaffordable deal a reality and as such Fuzile concluded that the only purpose for the strange meeting had been to "nudge" them along so they would be on the right page when the deal eventually landed up with Treasury for approval.

Treasury's own financial modelling later showed that the deal to build a 9.6GW plant would have saddled South Africa with an unsustainable debt-to-GDP ratio of between 75% and 95% by 2030 against a debt ceiling of 60%.

Testifying before the State Capture inquiry for a second time, Fuzile corroborated elements of the testimony of Gordhan and his successor, Nhlanhla Nene, on the push for the nuclear deal and, among other things:

The closure of the Gupta bank accounts;

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