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#StateCaptureInquiry: 'If nuclear had proceeded, SA would've been in trouble'

Published Feb 18, 2019


Johannesburg - Former National Treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile has corroborated former minister Nhlanhla Nene's evidence regarding pressure to implement the nuclear deal. 

Fuzile returned to the state capture inquiry on Monday to finalise aspects of his testimony. 

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He told the commission of a meeting with former president Jacob Zuma where the nuclear deal was discussed. 

He said Zuma made various comments that were concerning. And even with doubts from Treasury and Nene, there was pressure to go ahead with the deal. 

Nene had testified when he appeared last year at the inquiry that the nuclear deal would have cost a lot of money and place massive risk on the country's fiscus. 

"The costs associated with it were astronomical. The envisaged 9.6 GW programme would have constituted the largest investment project in SA history. The investment required would have been estimated at R200 billion for a phased approach," said Nene. 

Fuzile said in a meeting with Zuma on the eve of Nene's firing, officials from Treasury explained to Zuma and other officials why the project would be a risk yet Cabinet moved to approve the first phase of the deal. 

"This was the biggest procurement ever in the history of the country, yet the processes were rushed and some of the stuff that was talked about was not followed. If nuclear had proceeded, this country would have been in trouble. The process that was followed was seriously flawed. There was a brushing aside of the true cost of the project," said Fuzile. 

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Zuma commented that Fuzile and former minister Pravin Gordhan had stopped the PetrolSA Engen deal and said it was Treasury's job to find the money. 

Nene had testified that he suspects he was fired because of his objection to the nuclear deal. 

Lungisa also touched on the PetroSA deal which did not go through, something Zuma appeared unhappy about. 

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He also testified about concerns from some board members at South Africa Airways (SAA) about the Airbus deal.  

Lungisa also noted the resistance for the removal of former SAA board chair Dudu Myeni. He said it did not make sense why there was so much resistance especially as lenders for SAA did not enjoy working with the SAA board led by Myeni

Lungisa's testimony was largely focused on corroborating information already provided by Nene and Gordhan when they appeared at the inquiry last year.

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The inquiry continues. 

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