25 June 2017, Johannesburg — Nuclear energy will bring profits and dividends to South Africa for thousands of years to come, said President Jacob Zuma in Parliament on Thursday.
He was responding to questions from MPs on government’s plans to continue pursuing a nuclear build programme despite a Western Cape High Court ruling that the process followed by the government had been unlawful and unconstitutional.
Zuma repeated previous statements that government intends on procuring nuclear energy at a pace and scale that the country can afford as part of an energy mix.
He also came out in favour of nuclear energy as an income generator for South Africa. “It will bring a lot of money to the country. In any business, there is capital that builds the business and then the business comes to a point where it breaks even,” Zuma said.
He said those who protest against nuclear energy must bear in mind what can be achieved with the nuclear energy generation. “If we have to follow the logic of the protestor, we won’t start any business in South Africa,” Zuma said.
“That is why we support it and are working on it. Those who protest say we want to create bombs with it (nuclear). But it will be used for peaceful purposes,” Zuma said.
Zuma also categorically denied that he or any family member has benefited from any nuclear-related transaction.
“I don’t know of any transaction. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I’ll say it now and I’ll say it in future.”
The President was responding to a comment from DA leader Mmusi Maimane telling Zuma that the truth about nuclear will surface one day.
“Corrupt matters emerge much later,” Maimaine said, citing the Nkandla matter as an example when Zuma was found to have unduly benefited from upgrades to his homestead.
“In the same way as Nkandla, the truth about the nuclear deal will also emerge. It will come out.”
He asked Zuma to tell South Africa if he or any member of his family has received any payment related to nuclear procurement from any person, organisation or government agency, “including Russia”, related to nuclear procurement.
Zuma was resolute that he had never been found guilty of any wrongdoing regarding Nkandla.
“Nothing ever found that I was involved (with Nkandla). It was my house that was built. That’s all. You plant things that are not true,” he told Maimane.