PARLIAMENT - Minister of Energy David Mahlobo failed to impress MPs during his first appearance before the Portfolio Committee on Energy on Tuesday, with concerns about nuclear power and his relationship with Russia taking centre stage.
The minister had to duck and dive as he faced tough questions.
DA MP Gavin Davis asked Mahlobo about recent media reports that a minister and presidential aid met with a Russian delegation in October, a day before President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his cabinet.
"Minister, can you tell us did you met with the Russian delegation on the day before the cabinet reshuffle? If you did can you tell us what was discussed at the meeting and what was the outcome of that meeting?"
Mahlobo was hammered about renewable energy and the expense of nuclear power.
"The whole world moves to renewable energy minister and we pay millions to defend nuclear energy in court, and you said (that) the Cape Town High Court decision said that there is no lawful decision or reason, we don’t really need nuclear power," said IFP MP Jan Esterhuizen.
"How are you telling us energy from nuclear is sustainable and cheap if this information is not readily available to be made public and provided to this committee? Again we are shrouded in mystery and secrecy,” said DA MP Gordon Mackay.
The somewhat emotional Mahlobo tried to explain his love for Russia.
"I love the people of Russia, I love people of Zambia, I love people of Zimbabwe, all the frontlines states. I had to leave this country as a youngster when my parents’ home was razed to the ground... why today when we are free those people that gave us shelter should be taboo?"
But he failed to give further details on nuclear.
“It is not my narrative or the narrative of this government. I don’t know where people are getting it that there is a deal not on the table. We are not saying we are procuring; we're not saying we are not procuring."
Mahlabo said he wants to put forward a revised Integrated Resource Plan to cabinet before the ANC Policy conference in a month's time.