The aerotropolis in Zuma's back yard

The aerotropolis in Zuma's back yard

Madcap collaboration with Russians included 100mw nuclear power station outside Maritzburg. 

A bizarre plan to build a mega “aerotropolis” outside Pietermaritzburg, to be called the JG Zuma Aviation Centre – as first revealed in nose219 – included a proposal to build a 100MW nuclear power plant next door to the KZN capital.

The entire “aerotropolis” project was officially to have been financed and built by a mysterious Czech Republic non-profit organisation called Open Doors of Europe Fund (Odef). It soon enough emerged however that Odef was merely a proxy for unidentified Russian interests – of which the Russian government was one.

KwaZulu-Natal – despite having no sites designated for South Africa’s official nuclear programme – had played host, just eight months earlier, to a secret conference between the Department of Energy and Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom at Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensberg.

“Project Jacob” reeked of pure fantasy. It was to include a Russian plane manufacturing plant, a rail-based coal terminal, university campus, and an air terminal with a 4km runway capable of landing international flights.

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