Zuma’s nuclear deal would’ve financially troubled SA: Fuzile

Lungisa Fuzile
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Former National Treasury Director-General Lungisa Fuzile has told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that if former President Jacob Zuma’s proposed nuclear deal had gone through, the country would have been in serious financial trouble.

He says the process of procuring the nuclear deal was rushed and processed were flaunted in a bid to approve it.

Lungisa Fuzile says the National Treasury did not approve the nuclear deal because it was unaffordable and not sustainable.

The proposed deal was dealt a blow by the Cape Town High Court in 2018 after Earth life Africa and the Southern Africa Faith-Communities’ Environmental Institute successfully challenged the way in which the state determined the country’s nuclear power needs.

Fuzile says South Africa’s debt levels to GDP could have increased to about 90%. And that this was going to deal a heavy blow to the country’s budget deficit.

He says that future generation was going to be burdened by nuclear because Government was going to have to borrow more money to sustain this.

Fuzile says there were attempts to hastily sign the deal with without due diligence.

“The nuclear procurement – I can’t think of any other project of the magnitude of nuclear – it could be about a trillion. It could be a few percentages higher than that. They are big projects. They involve a lot of money and we felt that such commitments required very thorough due diligence, affordability. Not only in immediate term, but in the longer term; detailed assessment and impact on the entire economy,” says Fuzile.

Planned acquisitions

Former National Treasury DG tells the Commission that former President told him that Finance Ministers in other countries don’t tell the President that there is no money. He says Zuma’s comments followed a meeting held on the 8th of December 2015 where officials of the Energy department gave a presentation on the planned acquisitions of the 9,6 Gigawatts of Nuclear.

Fuzile says the recommendations by the Energy department were subsequently taken to cabinet despite objections by Treasury.

Fuzile also commented on PetroSA’s intention to buy shares in Engine, saying the deal would have costs it R18,6 billion whereas the company only had R5 billion.

Regarding SAA he said that the airline received over R17 billion bailouts over the last few years. This, despite the fact that it was not making considerable profit and it was insolvent.

Fuzile says that the former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan declined the Gupta’s attempt to intervene when the 4 major banks closed their accounts.

The Commission is yet to make a ruling on former Finance Minister Des Van Rooyen’s leave to cross examine Lungisa Fuzile.