Wednesday/ the ears of the hippopotamus

I mentioned in a post last year that there had been plans on the drawing board for South Africa to build a large number of new nuclear power stations (8 to 12).  Well, it turns out a lot of events had transpired behind the scenes.  So much has happened, that veteran journalist Allister Sparks writes in this article (in Afrikaans, unfortunately) that what we know now is likely still ‘the ears of the hippopotamus’ only.  A whole hippopotamus is still out there.  It all seems to be connected : the proposal of adding 9 600 MW of extra electrical capacity to the electrical power grid, by building the nuclear power stations, the approval of the proposal made possible by the unconditional support of Zuma’s allies in government, and Zuma’s sacking of two consecutive South Africa’s Finance Ministers (Pravin Gordhan en Nhlanhla Nene) over their objections to find funding for the proposal. Rough estimates came in at one trillion* South African Rand/ approx.US$ 66 billion.   *One followed by twelve zeros.

And then there is the Gupta family and Zuma’s son Duduzane that have purchased an outsize number of shares in the Shiva Uranium mine, and discussions that Zuma personally had with then-Russian Prime Minister Russian Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, and current Russian President Vladimir Putin Rosatom for awarding the deal to the Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation.  Where will this all end?  Zuma still has a lot of support from his African National Congress Party, but the ANC leadership from Gauteng Province has broken ranks and is now calling for Zuma’s resignation.

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(Photo from news24.com, by GCIS) : South African President Jacob Zuma with businessman Atul Gupta at a cricket match. In the background is one of Zuma’s wives.

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