Today's Big Stories

Leaked 'intelligence report' an alleged attempt to smear the Treasury

A document titled ‘Project Spider Web’ surfaced in government circles last week.

The so-called intelligence report was allegedly conceived in the dying days of apartheid in order for the white establishment to retain control of the National Treasury.

It has been labelled by the Business Day as a bizarre attempt to smear top Treasury officials and paint them as apartheid agents.

The report names a string of government officials as the key figures, comprising most of the top management of the Treasury.

Business Day editor Songezo Zibi joined CapeTalk and 702 presenter Redi Tlhabi in studio to unpack the report.

There are no specific claims, but overall the report alleges that the Treasury is managed by a cabal of the white establishment. It says that white figures who benefited from apartheid decided to extend their control into the democratic era.

Songezo Zibi, Business Day editor

Suspected ulterior motives

According to Zibi, the report is an attempt to delegitimise the Treasury and he strongly questions the veracity of the claims.

Zibi says that documents of this nature often surface to sway the country's political mood or on the eve of a controversial political or government decision.

The Business Day has questioned the timing of this document as the Treasury currently faces unprecedented political pressure to commit to a massive nuclear procurement, championed by President Jacob Zuma and the Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

Nuclear deal debated

In a discussion about the benefits of nuclear energy, Acting Eskom CEO Brian Molefe said that nuclear power is the cheapest alternative for South Africa to procure.

Molefe objected to the fact that National Treasury was not consulted in the cost-analysis of the nuclear procurement deal.

Nuclear is cheap in the long run, there should be no debate on whether or not we should have nuclear energy. We would not buy nuclear like we're buying fish and chips from the shop, it is a security sensitive matter.

Brian Molefe, Acting Eskom CEO

Zibi says that the argument is not around whether or not nuclear energy is necessary, but rather the lack of public transparency around the procurement processes and the consequences of the deal.

It's not a debate on if we need nuclear, its about how much and when. Affordability is key, beyond the question of whether or not Treasury has the money. Electricity will become to expensive for consumers.

Songezo Zibi, Business Day editor

Listeners weigh in on the conversation via Twitter:

Read the full Project Spider Web document here.

Listen to the full conversation from The Redi Tlhabi Show:

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