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NUM concerned about Brian Molefe's resignation

The National Union of Mineworkers says the power supply was beginning to stabilise under Molefe's leadership.

Eskom CEO Brian Molefe speaks to Chairman Ben Ngubane before a press conference in Johannesburg on 3 November 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says it’s concerned about the resignation of Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, saying under his leadership power supply was stabilised.

Molefe announced his resignation on Friday, effective from 1 January next year.

The Eskom boss featured extensively in the Public Protector’s state of capture report, which found that Eskom appears to have helped the Gupta family take over the Optimum Coal Mine and that there was proof that he had been in regular contact with the Guptas.

But he maintains his resignation is not an admission of guilt on his part.

NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu says, “There’s no doubt that Eskom was starting to stabilise the power supply around the country under his leadership, and we also think that his resignation is premature.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said it will lay criminal charges against Eskom Molefe, saying he has resigned in the face of serious allegations against him.

The power utility’s CEO features extensively in the Public Protector’s State of Capture Report, released last month, and his close relationship with the Guptas emerged as one of the big outcome of the investigation.

In the report, former Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela found that Eskom had appeared to help the Gupt a family take over the optimum coal mine and said she had proof that Molefe had been in regular contact with the family.

The DA’s Natasha Mazzone said while they welcome Molefe’s resignation, they want allegations against him to be probed.

“The DA will be laying charges in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act, as well as the Prevention and Combatting of Corruption Act, against Brain Molefe following the findings of the Public Protector’s State of Capture Report.”

At the same time, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says while it welcomes Molefe’s resignation, its calling on the parastatal’s board to follow suit.

The EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said, “We welcome the resignation as a step forward in ridding the state of the Gupta deployees and the type of criminal, kleptocratic behaviour that has been engaged in; in particular, in parastatals (sic).”

MOLEFE SEEKING LEGAL ADVICE

Molefe said he is seeking legal advice on what action he can take regarding the findings by the Public Protector’s state of capture report

He said he’s leaving Eskom in the interests of good governance and that it is in the interests of Eskom and the public for him to do so.

Energy expert Chris Yellend said Eskom now needs a new CEO.

“I’ve a feeling that this person will not come from within Eskom but will be somebody external that is hopefully not tainted by what we’ve seen comeing in the Public Protector’s report.”

Eskom’s board has also denied any wrong-doing and last week strongly defended Molefe.

The power utility chair Ben Ngubane said it’s accepting his resignation with a great sense of loss.

Ngubane said the decision by Molefe to resign as the parastatal’s CEO from January is regrettable but understandable.

Yellend said this resignation could be just the start as the full judicial inquiry into claims of state capture is still to come.

“I do think that there’s going to be a lot of dirty washing, a lot of new facts coming out. We’ve not seen half of it in my opinion.”

But Eskom’s board says it wants to thank Molefe for his dedication to turning the utility around and putting it on a sound growth trajectory.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)