President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken the sword to his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s dodgy nuclear plans and politely told Russian President Vladimir Putin that it isn’t going to happen any time soon.
The issue was discussed this week on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg.
“They wanted to know where we are in relation to our nuclear programme,” Ramaphosa told a media briefing, Friday, after the conclusion of the Summit.
“We gave them a clear, straightforward answer. Our policy in terms of energy is to have a mixed-energy type of policy. We wil have energy sources that deal with fossil fuels, our coal, renewable energy, nuclear, hydro - and that is the architecture of our energy policy going forward.
The SA President said he had told Putin during bilateral discussions that “because our economy is not operating at the level where we would like it to, and we have got huge financial constraints, we are not able to proceed with a nuclear-build programme.
“President Putin was quite relaxed about this. He said: ‘You deal with your issues, and when the situation changes, we can keep talking about this’.”
“And that is where we left it. There is no hidden agenda. We were quite straightforward.
“Right now we are not able to afford any nuclear-build programme because it is quite expensive … we are having to deal with a number of urgent priorities in relation to the needs of our people.
“Fortunately, we now have an energy surplus. As our economy grows, we will be able to re-evaluate our situation going forward.
“That answer was well-accepted.”
Ramaphosa was 1 1/2 hours late for his briefing, but nonetheless boasted about his Summit timekeeping.
He said that the global trade war had been discussed at the BRICS Summit, which took a “fairly firm stance against protectionism”.
With world trade now under attack, the President said there were many attempts to weaken the multilateral trading system.
However, the BRICS bloc is commited to the WTO and to a trading system where everyone plays by the rules.
“It was most successful BRICS Summit, he concluded.
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