The energy department will fully co-operate with National Treasury regarding the nuclear new build programe, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson insisted on Saturday.
Joemat-Pettersson had noted press reports related to the nuclear new build programme, her office said in a statement.
“The minister wishes to reiterate that the integrity of all aspects of the procurement process will be defended and protected.
“The minister has noted that the National Treasury has engaged with the director general of the department of energy, as accounting officer, on this matter. The department will fully co-operate with National Treasury to verify compliance with the supply chain management norms and standards.”
Joemat-Pettersson would further respond and implement the advice and recommendations of National Treasury as soon as it had concluded its processes, the statement said.
Democratic Alliance spokesman Gordon Mackay said earlier the first beneficiary of the proposed nuclear deal appeared to be none other than Shantan Reddy, the son of President Jacob Zuma’s close friend and ally, Vivian Reddy, with his company having been awarded a R171 million contract for the “nuclear new build programme management system”.
The awarding of the contract to Reddy’s company was highly irregular considering that both Joemat-Pettersson and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had been at pains to assure South Africans that no deal had been concluded.
“If there is in fact no nuclear deal yet, why the need to procure a R171 million system to manage it?” Mackay asked.
Alarmingly, the contract with Reddy was awarded on the back of an as yet unidentified tender in the Free State and not publically advertised on the department’s website, as was standard practice. That notwithstanding, the deal with Reddy was personally signed off by the department’s director general.
“This raises serious questions surrounding the tender process that was followed, not least of which is what knowledge the minister had of the deal with Reddy.”
The DA would submit parliamentary questions to Joemat-Pettersson to ascertain, among other things, the reasons for the deviation from the department’s standard procurement process and the basis on which Reddy’s company, an entity with no experience in the nuclear field, was awarded the contract.
Also, whether the minister had any involvement in, or knowledge of the contract and why a contract for the management of the new build programme had been awarded if, by the minster’s account, no deal had been concluded.
“The move is premature at best and once again suggests that protestations by government are a smokescreen to hide the fact that the nuclear new build is a done deal. Moreover, the development ads to the growing body of evidence suggesting that the primary motivation being Zuma’s pursuit of the ill-advised and unaffordable nuclear deal is to enrich his cronies and fund his patronage network.
“The DA has long maintained that the nuclear deal has potential for corruption the likes of which South Africa has never seen. One thing is increasingly clear – the only really beneficiary of the nuclear deal will be Zuma Inc at the expense of an already highly indebted and fragile South African economy,” Mackay said.
– African News Agency (ANA)