President Jacob Zuma will not act alone when negotiating nuclear power agreements, presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement on Friday.
“Media reports that President Jacob Zuma has negotiated or will negotiate and conclude nuclear power agreements alone are incorrect,” Maharaj said.
“The president works with Cabinet on the matter.”
On Friday, the Mail & Guardian reported that Zuma took control of a R1 trillion nuclear deal with Russia; for that country to supply as many as eight nuclear plants to South Africa.
Zuma reportedly negotiated directly with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and instructed Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to sign the deal.
Maharaj defended Zuma’s leadership of Cabinet’s energy sub-committee.
“Some media houses have complained about the Cabinet decision to change the leadership of the committee,” he said.
“It must be pointed out as well that the president can chair any committee of Cabinet and may also delegate the chairing of committees should he so decide.”
Zuma’s office moved to explain the signing of a nuclear energy co-operation agreement with Russia.
“The department of energy has explained the nature of this co-operation agreement, which creates the foundation for the strategic partnership and co-operation in the fields of nuclear power and industry for peaceful uses between the Republic of South Africa and the Russia Federation,” it said.
The energy department said on Wednesday that no agreement had been entered into with Russia for the construction of nuclear power plants.
The agreement recently signed between South Africa and Russia was one of six sought from Russia and five other countries to determine which technologies suited South Africa’s nuclear build programme best, deputy director general nuclear Zizamele Mbambo told reporters in Pretoria. SAPA