President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his cabinet earlier this week, allegedly just hours after a meeting with a group of Russian officials, according to the Sunday Times.
The newspaper reported on Sunday that a high-level Russian delegation met Zuma just hours before this week’s Cabinet reshuffle, in efforts to implement a R1tn new nuclear build project deal.
On Tuesday former Minister of State Security David Mahlobo was appointed SA’s new energy minister with former Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi moved to the communications portfolio.
The Sunday Times quoted an unnamed source as saying that the Russian “visit was to deliver what many of us believe to be the final warning to the South African authorities”.
The source claimed that members of the Russian military, police, and the intelligence were part of the group.
This week, Rian le Roux, chief economist at Old Mutual Investment told Fin24 that the latest Cabinet reshuffle was a clear attempt to put nuclear power plans back on track and only made matters worse, even if nuclear power is “still far in the future’.
Mahlobo is the third energy minister this year.
Tina Joemat-Pettersson was axed in March after the nuclear programme was halted following a court ruling.
Kubayi was redeployed, resulting in speculation that Zuma was not happy with her progress in restarting the nuclear procurement programme.
Critics and opposition parties have warned that Mahlobo’s appointment could be an attempt by Zuma to push through the nuclear deal, as the president’s leadership position hangs in the balance ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December.
The rand lost more than 0.5% within minutes of Zuma’s announcement of yet another surprise Cabinet reshuffle.