NEWS

Physical And Legal Barriers To Entry Await Molefe On His First Day Back At Eskom

Opposition to his reinstatement is expected to kick into high gear on Monday.

15/05/2017 10:30 SAST | Updated 15/05/2017 10:38 SAST
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Opposition to Brian Molefe's return to Eskom on Monday is expected to kick into high gear, with threats to physically and legally bar him from returning as the power utility's chief executive.

On Friday, public enterprises minister Lynne Brown endorsed Molefe's return. Molefe famously resigned after being fingered in the public protector's State of Capture report in November 2016. The report revealed numerous instances of contact between Molefe and the Gupta family while Eskom was negotiating coal deals with the politically-connected family's company.

Brown said: "In terms of the Eskom board's proposal Mr Molefe agreed to serve out the remainder of his original contract and to reconsider his contract I objected to,'' Brown said.

''The board's proposal I believe is a better value proposition for the SA fiscus than the previous proposal.''

This was apparently after Brown refused to pay Molefe a R30-million pension payout after less then two years in the post.

Cope threatened to physically prevent Molefe from returning to work on Monday, after his reinstatement in the post was announced last week.

According to the Sunday times, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown was summoned by the ANC to a meeting on Sunday, after the party demanded that she either reverse the decision to rehire Molefe, or dissolve the entire Eskom board.

ANC spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa told the paper: "We want to express our disappointment with the shareholder minister. We're embarrassed as the ANC that she could embrace what appears to be illegal and immoral. The only moral thing we were expecting and we're still expecting, is to rescind and reverse that decision or dismiss the Eskom board because with this decision, they have failed to [carry out] their fiduciary responsibilities."

The DA has vowed to file an urgent court application seeking to review the decision to reinstate him. The court papers could be filed as early as Monday morning, according to the chairperson of the DA's federal executive, James Selfe.

He said the DA had instructed its lawyers to start preparing on Friday .

According to Business Day, the SACP has also condemned Molefe's return. The paper also reported that the CEO Initiative is also considering going to court over the issue.

Jabu Mabuza, president of Business Unity SA (Busa), chairman of Business Leadership SA and convenor of the CEO Initiative told the paper:

"The decision cannot just be accepted. We're thinking very hard about whether to interdict it in the courts... It cannot just be the new normal. It's just not on. This is taxpayers' money involved here."

Meanwhile, economists have warned of the economic impact of Molefe's return, should the ratings agencies react to it negatively.

Economist Mike Schussler previously told Huffington Post: "If I were a rating agency, I would take note of Brian Molefe's reappointment."

Accountability Now director Paul Hoffman said Molefe's competency as CEO was a "matter of debate, at the least".

"Molefe's actions last year suggest he was correct to resign, but it's inappropriate for him to be reappointed. His reaction to the State Capture report should be emulated by other government officials," Hoffman said.