News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
2 minute read
2 Nov 2017
4:28 pm

The ministers of energy and finance are not clashing on nuclear, says Zuma

Gosebo Mathope

Zuma denied that Malusi Gigaba and David Mahlobo made contradictory statements in public, and insisted they were referring to timelines of project implementation.

Parliament file picture

The recent contradictory statements by the two ministers on whether government had made budgetary provisions for the controversial nuclear build programme caused a row in parliament this afternoon.

When the questioned was posed to President Jacob Zuma during this afternoon’s last Q&A session, speaker Baleka Mbete’s first reaction was that it was “a new big question”.

The question was whether there was a nuclear deal, and if the country could afford it. Zuma agreed to take the question.

“Firstly, I am not obsessed with energy in South Africa. There is a need for energy. We just come from loadshedding, which we had to act in a particular way to stop it. We are faced with many challenges, including climate change. South Africa has to reduce emissions. We have a policy of mixed energy, which included nuclear.

“The two ministers were not saying we have changed policy. They were saying, how do we implement? The minister with the purse was saying, how do we do it? They were not contradicting each other. They were saying how do we start?” Zuma said.

READ MORE: Details: Zuma tells parliament why Bathabile Dlamini survived his most recent Cabinet reshuffle

He said the opposition MPs may not know how Cabinet meetings are conducted, as they are not in government, and may never be.

“The minister who deals with energy itself, you may not know that the ministers come to Cabinet and discuss what they are going to do. The minister of finance will say from time to time we don’t have money. You can’t say when they discussing timing say they are disagreeing. The minister were commenting on that one. It is simple as that,” Zuma explained to parliament.

Agang MP Andries Tlouamma was ruled out of order twice. First by Mbete, and afterwards by deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli for calling Zuma “incompetent”.

“Honourable president, you are truly a disciple of deception. You know your family makes Saxonwold their pilgrimage. I know your words lack honour. When are you going to put people of this country first?” Tlouamma said before he was told to withdraw the statement.

“The president is a suspect. I don’t know what aspersions mean,” he told Mbete. Tlouamma again sparred with Tsenoli when he said he knew “the president may be struggling with mathematics” and that the country was “paying for an avalanche of scandals”, which would not be necessary “if the president was not dishonest and incompetent”.


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