The City Press has reported that Energy Minister David Mahlobo declared “South Africa would procure several thousand megawatts of new nuclear power generation capacity”.
The actual amount of nuclear power which the country plans to procure is unknown, but according to the report, Mahlobo wants nuclear power to make up 20% of the country’s total supply.
“This proportion had earlier delivered the old target of 9,600 megawatts, but now the demand forecasts have fallen, forcing the nuclear component to fall proportionally,” said Mahlobo.
Mahlobo replaced Mmamoloko Kubayi as energy minister, who was reportedly not doing enough to push a nuclear deal through.
The Sunday Times recently reported that a team acting on orders from Russian President Vladimir Putin met Zuma just before he replaced Kubayi.
According to the report, Putin’s team told Zuma to “speed up and conclude” a multibillion-dollar nuclear deal with Russia.
In November, the City Press reported that Mahlobo was forcing his nuclear energy plan into action, with officials in his department “working weekends” to ensure South Africa gets more nuclear power.
This was despite Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba slamming the brakes on the planned nuclear project, which he called unaffordable and unnecessary.
Gigaba said South Africa can meet its electricity needs without nuclear power.