The Democratic Alliance (DA) says Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown's claim that Eskom’s reinstatement of Brian Molefe as CEO was the only way out of his pension dispute is disingenuous and simply untrue.
On Friday, Brown approved a decision by the Eskom board that Molefe would go back to Megawatt Park after earlier refusing to grant him R30 million pension pay-out.
Last year, Molefe resigned as Eskom CEO following the release of evidence that he had been in constant contact with Ajay Gupta as his family was buying a coal mine that supplies Eskom.
The African National Congress (ANC), Congress of South African Trade Unions, South African Communist Party (SACP), Business Leadership South Africa and Corruption Watch have all condemned the minister’s decision.
The DA is now challenging it in court.
The opposition party’s Natasha Mazzone says: “It is highly suspicious that having failed to become the minister of finance, which seemed Zuma’s clear intention in deploying Molefe to Parliament, minister Brown has now paved a smooth return for him to Eskom.”
The DA says it believes that Molefe was never entitled to a R30 million pay-out because he did not qualify for early retirement as he was under the age of 55 and he only worked at Eskom for 21 months accruing an estimated maximum retirement benefit of only R2,5 million.
Corruption Watch head David Lewis has slammed the minister following her decision on Molefe.
“He resigned because it was in the interest of the country and the state-owned enterprise to do so. Where is this nonsense coming from that he took early retirement after a year and he was given an early retirement package of R30 million?”
The SACP Alex Mashilo says the Molefe's resignation as an ANC member of Parliament and return to Megawatt Park reveals what the true agenda was.
“Clearly, Brian Molefe did not go to Parliament to serve as an MP. Let us recall that as the SACP, together with ANC officials, stopped Brian Molefe from being appointed as the minister of finance.”
At the same time, the ANC's Zizi Kodwa said the party was embarrassed by minister Brown’s comments.
“We are embarrassed because the minister seems to have endorsed what is called an illegal process and this is where most of the time courts rule against government, because government in most instances undermines the process. Molefe is not part of the institution. He was brought in and there was already a due process to fill the vacancy as an advertisement was out and people had applied.”