South Africa: Zexit, a Nuclear Deal and Russia’s Strong-Arm Persuasion

opinion

The Betrayal of the Promise report suggests that the Russians funded the ANC’s local government election campaign. Whatever leverage Russia may have, it is safe to assume it exists to realise a return on all the efforts made thus far and that this is why President Jacob Zuma has more than likely insisted on the implementation of the nuclear deal as a condition for agreeing to quit.

South Africa held its breath last week as it waited for ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to take decisive action to speed up what many are now calling Zexit – the long-awaited departure of Jacob Zuma as president and his replacement with Ramaphosa, the newly elected ANC president. Media speculation, dinner table conversation, shebeen debates and countless informal discussions were dominated by speculation that Zuma’s conditions for leaving were all about protection from prosecution and related matters.

What few noticed was a meeting that took place on 8 February on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba, between the Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donsky, Russian Ambassador Michail Petrakov, Energy Minister (and former State Security Minister) David Mhlobo, and the chairperson of South Africa’s Central Energy Fund. [1] There are unconfirmed reports…

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