Somersaults at Megawatt Park: Eskom’s Molefe says, “I was on unpaid leave”

Lurching from one scandal to the next, one may start finding it hard to feel even remotely sorry for Brian Molefe. Apart from being embroiled in the Public Protector’s State of Capture report last year and subsequently quitting his post as Eskom CEO, the man managed to somehow become an MP thereafter and then return to Eskom. Now, the reasons for his previous Eskom exit appear to be changing day-by-day. Did he quit? Or was he retrenched? Or did he just take unpaid leave? Either way, he’s digging a deeper hole for himself – if he was on unpaid leave, it poses all kinds of questions about why he then took a post as MP. The truth will come out eventually though, and Molefe risks wrecking his once-promising career in the process. – Gareth van Zyl

File Photo: Brian Molefe, CEO of Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., speaks during an interview at the company’s headquarters at Megawatt Park in Sandton, near Johannesburg. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

From Fin24

Cape Town – While he was an MP in Parliament, Brian Molefe was only considered to be on “unpaid leave” from his position as CEO of Eskom, the Mail & Guardian reported on Monday evening.

The publication said this is according to affidavits by Molefe and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. The affidavits were filed in a high court application by the DA. The party wants Molefe removed as Eskom CEO.

Fin24 reported last week that Molefe asked Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane if he could exercise his early retirement option to shield the woman he was about to marry from the media frenzy following the public protector’s State of Capture report in November 2016. Ngubane stated this on the sidelines of the African Utility Week.

Brown and the Eskom board will face the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises on Tuesday regarding the reinstatement of Molefe as chief executive last Monday.

Molefe shed tears during a media conference last year when Eskom first addressed the public protector report into state capture, which implicated him with the sale of Optimum coal mine from Glencore to Gupta-owned Tegeta. Soon afterwards, he announced he was stepping down as CEO to clear his name.

Ngubane said it then became an administrative issue of the Eskom Pension Board. “We were not even aware of the quantum (R30m pension payout) that was involved.”

However, in 2017 the Eskom board was ordered to rescind Molefe’s R30m pension payout after Brown read about the pension payout in the media. The board’s solution was to bring Molefe back – and he returned to his role last Monday. – Fin24


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