‘Letting #BrianMolefe return to Eskom better than paying R30m’
Meanwhile, the decision to reinstate Brian Molefe as the Eskom CE is reckless and feeds into the perception that the government is lacklustre in dealing with corruption, the ANC says.
Opposition parties, are also investigating legal avenues to block his return to the power utility.
Parliament confirmed on Friday that Molefe had resigned as an MP with effect from Sunday.
Eskom board spokesman Khulani Qoma confirmed during various media interviews on Friday that Molefe would return to the state-owned power utility on Monday.
Molefe resigned from Eskom last year after he was implicated in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.
In February this year he was sworn in as an ANC MP.
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said on Friday that Molefe still had not cleared his name following the release of the state capture report.
“The report, while still under review, made observations against Molefe which, at the time, he had deemed serious and significant enough to warrant his resignation.
“The decision therefore to reinstate him in his former position without these matters being resolved is tone deaf to the South African public’s absolute exasperation and anger at what seems to be government’s lacklustre and lackadaisical approach to dealing decisively with corruption – perceived or real,” said Kodwa.
He said the ANC wanted to meet with Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Browne on the matter.
Madonsela’s report into state capture revealed that Molefe had exchanged 58 phone calls with Atul Gupta.
It also detailed how cellphone records had placed Molefe in Saxonwold‚ the Gupta residence in Johannesburg‚ several times around the time of the controversial Tegeta-Optimum coal mine deal signed with Eskom.
The Save SA campaign said it would do anything to prevent Molefe from returning to Eskom.
“It’s clear that their failed attempt to get Molefe appointed as finance minister has forced a change of strategy. It also confirms that his ‘deployment’ as a member of Parliament was never about fulfilling the vital constitutional duties of an MP – it was a cynical stepping stone to the advancement of state capture,” the organisation said.
Save SA said it would brief its legal advisers on Friday, looking at steps it could take to keep Molefe out of Eskom.
The organisation would also work with others to mobilise protests to show the nation’s outrage, it said.
It also confirms that his ‘deployment’ as a member of Parliament was never about fulfilling the vital constitutional duties of
“Ultimately, the solution is to rid SA of Jacob Zuma once and for all. That is the best way to stop the rot, and to Save SA.”
EFF leader Julius Malema told reporters on Friday that the EFF would take Eskom’s decision court.
“We think it is unacceptable. This thing is just turning our country into a banana republic,” Malema said.
“We have now asked our lawyers to look at whether we can act on an urgent basis since the man said he is coming to work on Monday, so the lawyers would advise whether we should take it on an urgent basis or not.”
The Democratic Alliance, too, has asked its lawyers to investigate every angle possible to review Eskom’s decision to reinstate Molefe.
Even though the DA was still consulting on a possible interdict, leader Mmusi Maimane said the party would definitely challenge the rationality of his reappointment.
“It is irrational and improper for Brian Molefe to become CEO of Eskom and therefore the rationality of the decision must be challenged,” Maimane told Business Day, after a media conference in Johannesburg where a multiparty movement that included Save SA and the Freedom Movement announced plans for a march on Monday.
The Constitutional Court hears arguments on Monday over whether MPs should be allowed to vote with a secret ballot in a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.
DA MP Natasha Mazzone said the return of Molefe was a “monumental disaster” for the power utility.
She said the DA would also write to the chair of chairs Cedric Frolick and ask that the committee on public enterprise launch a parliamentary inquiry into Eskom.
“The return of Molefe to Eskom will see the Gupta hand return to the power utility, and most likely to the forthcoming nuclear procurement deal.
“This is something which SA cannot accept,” Mazzone said.
Maimane said if Molefe’s reappointment was indeed a squabble about his bonus and his pension, the DA’s message to South Africans is that people cannot loot the state.
Prince Mashele for the Freedom Movement said they would support an interdict being sought.
Themba Godi, president of the African Peoples Convention (APC), said he ran into Molefe at the airport on Friday.
“He was the first to inform me that he is back at Eskom, complaining about the fact that on Wednesday the public accounts committee and Treasury were discussing the Tegeta coal contracts and would like Eskom to be given a chance to clear themselves,” Godi said.
The South African Federation of Trade Unions condemned the reappointment of Molefe, saying it was outrageous that someone who was facing serious allegations in the state capture report could continue to head a national enterprise.
“Saftu demands that the decision to reinstate Molefe must be immediately reversed and that the entire Eskom Board be dismissed and that a new democratically accountable Board be appointed with representatives from the Eskom workers and communities,” the federation said.
The IFP wants Parliament to set up an ad-hoc committee to inquire into Molefe’s fitness to hold office.
IFP MP Narend Singh said he would write to National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete.
“Parliament must hold this government to account in respect of the policies and actions being taken at Eskom,” he said.
“This government appears to be losing all sense of reason, logic and rationality. The rule of law which is a founding provision of our Constitution is clearly under siege by this government.”
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has also promised to take action against Molefe’s reappointment. Outa will write to Brown and to Eskom chairman Ben Ngubane, and consider what legal options it has.
Ted Blom, portfolio director of energy at Outa, said: “The Eskom Board and the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, needs to explain in detail what is going on here and put an end to it.
“This is the most senior executive position of this strategic state entity and there have been far too many questions surrounding Molefe’s conduct during his short 18-month tenure as CEO.”
Outa said Eskom could not simply reinstate Molefe – the position should be advertised and proper procedures followed.