Show us the R11m, Mr Molefe
And paying back his pension is only the beginning of his troubles as corruption probe looms
R11-million in 10 days.
This is what Eskom's former CEO Brian Molefe needs to cough up, according to a scathing court order handed down on Thursday.
The High Court in Pretoria set aside Molefe’s re-instatement as Eskom group chief executive officer and ordered that he repay the more than R11-million of his R30-million pension payout.
A full bench, Judge Elias Matojane, Judge Hans Fabricius and Judge Segopotje Mphahlele, on Thursday ruled that Molefe terminated his employment when he resigned, in the interest of governance, on national television.
Molefe resigned under a cloud at the end of 2016, weeks after former public protector Thuli Madonsela released findings of her state capture report implicating Molefe in the Eskom leadership breaching procurement rules to give a coal contract to the Gupta family’s Tegeta Exploration.
It soon emerged that he had received more than R30.1-million in pension payout, of which more than R10-million had been paid to him.
Trade union Solidarity approached the high court to declare Molefe's controversial pension invalid and the court agreed with Solidarity and the DA that Molefe’s pension and re-instatement was unlawful.
Molefe’s argument was that he never resigned but took early pension and that retirement was the only reason he left Eskom.
He argued the whole resignation saga was a common misunderstanding between him and Eskom.
But the court ruled that the decision to accept Molefe’s early retirement be reviewed and set aside.
“It is declared that any payment or sum money received by Molefe under any purported pension agreement between him and Eskom is invalid. (Molefe) is ordered to repay such amounts within ten days of this order,” Judge Matojane ruled.The ruling was scathing against Molefe, finding that the “damning” State of Capture report could not be ignored and would hang over Molefe's head until he was cleared.
"The allegations are highly relevant to Molefe's suitability to be re-instated as GCEO. They are a dead weight that he must carry until he is cleared…The minister (of public enterprise Lynne Brown) acted irrationally in ignoring the damning allegations in the Public Protector's report," Judge Matojane said.
Solidarity’s chief executive, Dirk Hermann, said this was only the beginning of trouble for Molefe as they were now pursuing criminal charges against him for possible corruption.
He said they have since briefed their lawyers to compile comprehensive representations to the Hawks because the National Prosecuting Authority had submitted under oath that the pension saga will be investigated by the Hawks.
“We think that unlawful behaviour must have consequences … He cannot simply pay the money. The Director of Public Prosecutions has indicated in its answering affidavit that the Hawks will investigate the alleged corruption by Molefe also by other senior officials of Eskom and pension fund,” Hermann said.