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One of the few bright spots in South Africa’s gloomy 2016 Davos came at a sparsely attended Press Conference by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson where the reporting corps was myself and someone from Surve’ Media’s wire service. The event started slowly with the volatile Minister reading a lengthy statement about the Renewables Programme, strangely referring to herself in the third person. When allowed, my pointed question was how the nuclear programme could even be on the table after the Rand had halved from a level where the NDP Commissioners were already fretting about cost. Joemat-Pettersson promised the question of affordability would be interrogated by the same team that ran the successful Renewables Plan. In his State of the Nation address this month, President Jacob Zuma followed a similar same line, All well and good. But actions always speak louder than words. And suspicion resurfaced after reading the Fin24 report below where Joemat-Pettersson appears to be back to old tricks which tarnished her reputation while overseeing the allocation of fishing quotas. The best thing in the Budget would be a definitive dumping of the nuclear proposal. It might be asking too much for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to kill what is potentially the biggest patronage plunder of all. But we can always hope. – Alec Hogg
By Matthew le Cordeur