JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete has slammed a Bloomberg report which accused the minister of a secret nuclear deal meeting, calling it fake news.
Bloomberg accused Gigaba of meeting with representatives of the World Bank last week to discuss financing for the development of a nuclear power programme.
The report says that Gigaba met with the bank on Friday to discuss funding options available to state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.
It was further alleged that the issue of South African Airways struggling to meet debt obligations was also discussed at the meeting.
Speaking to ENCA on Wednesday morning Tshewte dismissed the report as fake news, "This is the unfortunate error of fake news and it's unfortunate that quite a respectable publication like Bloomberg would involve itself in such."
He further said that it was important for South-Africans to understand at which phase the nuclear project is in, "we are not at that stage of asking for financing because the IRP has yet to be finalised, there is a review of it.
"The discussion about how many megawatts we need and how much it's going to cost hasn't happened, so and it's actually nonsensical to believe that a minister would skip all these phases and already be asking for money from the world bank."
He also said that people were jumping the gun by trying to make the suggestion that there is a going to be an immediate signing off of the nuclear deal. Tshwete said that Treasury's official stance on the nuclear project is clear, "as you know, nuclear is part of renewable energy so nuclear has always been in the mix for close to a decade, "I don't think we should speak about it with such trepidation and fears, its a part of our agreed policy as a country, but what we are discussing is the process that we take to reach that completion."
"As the minister has said, the finances right now of the country are not in a position for us to be discussing purchasing or investing in nuclear tomorrow. In the mid-term, our focus should be on growth and getting the economy growing so that we can have those revenue streams that will afford us the opportunities of nuclear."
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE