CAPE TOWN – The Eskom Pension and Provident Fund’s rules and governance structures have come under scrutiny in Parliament in the wake of Brian Molefe’s pension controversy.
On Friday, the fund’s CEO Sibusiso Luthuli was quizzed by the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises about why Molefe secured a R30 million payout.
During the inquiry, MPs heard Eskom led the fund to believe Molefe was a permanent employee and therefore eligible to be a member of the fund, even though he was on a fixed-term contract.
The committee’s acting chairperson Zukiswa Rantho told Luthuli that governance at the fund appears to be collapsing.
“There’s a game that’s being played here and you then become part of the game.”
But Luthuli maintains oversight structures are intact.
Luthuli told lawmakers he had no reason to mistrust Eskom when it submitted Molefe’s information.
On the third day of a parliamentary inquiry into state capture, it’s emerged the parastatal created the impression that Molefe was eligible to be a member of the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund, even though he was not a permanent employee.
Eskom waived penalties and secured additional benefits amounting to 13 years of service totalling R30 million.
Molefe left in November 2016 to become an African National Congress (ANC) MP after serving 16 months as head of the utility.
Molefe’s departure from Eskom to take up a seat in Parliament and his brief return to the utility earlier in 2017 have been a source of concern and confusion for lawmakers.
His reinstatement at Eskom was rescinded at the behest of Minister Lynne Brown. The issue is the subject of litigation.
But that’s changed; going forward, the fund is double-checking the contracts of Eskom employees, including suspended CFO Anoj Singh to ensure they’re eligible to be members.