National 16.9.2016 01:10 pm

Zuma’s pals get first multimillion-rand nuclear deal

Vivian Reddy. Image by Gallo Images.

Vivian Reddy. Image by Gallo Images.

The son of a wealthy Durban-based businessman who has close ties with the president has scored himself a lucrative nuclear contract worth R170 million.

Shantan is the son of Vivian Reddy, a multimillionaire who has always spoken openly about his friendship with President Jacob Zuma.

“We’ve always had a very close relationship with his entire family. He is like the godfather to my children. From a young age, my children played pool in my garage with the president. At that time, he was just an ordinary member of the ANC who had just come back from exile.

“Our relationship is one of family. Every child of his, all his wives, are known to me. I’m a family friend of the president, and that is why he was there at my 50th birthday,” Vivian told The Daily Maverick.

It may come as little surprise then that Shantan’s Empire Technology has been awarded a contract to provide “the procurement of the nuclear build programme management system” for the department of energy.

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This information was placed on its website and, according to the Mail and Guardian, it has raised alarm bells because of its indication that work has already begun behind the scenes.

“Considering that the minister of energy [Tina Joemat-Pettersson] is on record stating no deal has been signed and the deputy president [has said] that South Africa will not commence on nuclear if it can’t afford it, the issuance of a contract is highly irregular,” Gordon Mackay, the DA’s spokesperson on energy, told the newspaper.

Shantan did not respond to request for comment.

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