Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has been ordered to pay back R11 million he has received so far as part of a R30-million pension pay-out from the power utility. He has been given ten days to pay back the money.
A full bench of the Pretoria High Court unanimously ruled that Eskom’s decision to approve Molefe’s early retirement is invalid. Trade Union Solidarity approached the court in a bid to set aside the pension pay-out.
Molefe left the power utility in 2016 shortly after damning findings against him in the state of capture report by former public protector, Thuli Madonsela.
In the state of capture report, Brian Molefe was found to have abused his power at Eskom to benefit the controversial Gupta family through business deals.
Shortly after his resignation, he joined Parliament. After a short stint at parliament, he was re-instated as Eskom Group CEO by Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Brown in May 2016.
Eskom finally dismissed him a month later. The court found that Molefe’s claims of early retirement were lies and that he had indeed resigned.
The full bench ruled that he was never entitled to receive any pension benefits from utility’s pension fund.
Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Brown was also wrong to re-instate Molefe as Eskom’s group-CEO.
“Mr Molefe terminated his employment relationship with Eskom either by agreement or resignation. The contention that Mr Molefe’s original contract of employment did not come to an end is contrived. On the question on whether the purported re-instatement agreement is lawful, we came to the conclusion the re-instatement of Mr Molefe as Group CEO at Eskom is at variance with the principle of legality is invalid and falls to be set aside,” explains Judge Elias Mathojane.
Trade Union, Solidarity which brought the application to revoke Molefe’s pension pay-out, says it’s pleased with the court’s decision. The union say it’s a pity that the matter had to come before court for it to be resolved.
Solidarity CEO, Dirk Hermann, says they are not done with Molefe. The union is now setting its eyes on the possibility of criminal charges against Molefe.
“Although this is a definite victory, this is not the end of the road. Fact of the matter there was clear and unlawful representation made. That boils down to fraud and fraud is a criminal activity and we will definitely continue with a criminal case as well. The director of public prosecutions already indicated the hawks will investigate tis specific case they did that under oath.”
Molefe’s lawyer, Barry Farber, has conceded that the judgement was damning and hard-hitting. He says he doesn’t know yet whether Molefe will be appealing the matter.
Farber says Molefe wants to be treated fairly as he has done a lot for Eskom. He has however indicated that Molefe, who is now an SANDF reserve force member and an honourary colonel, still wishes to work for the state.
“He just wants to be treated fairly and he did a lot for Eskom in his own words and he wanted to be remunerated. I would say that he wants to serve the state and if there’s any position he could earn money and go back he would, but again I can’t speak for him.”
Molefe has been ordered to pay legal costs.