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Molefe: Early retirement from Eskom based on fundamental mistake

Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane has conceded the error and says it’s the basis for Brian Molefe’s reinstatement last week.

FILE: Eskom CEO Brian Molefe looks on after tearing up following a discussion of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's 'State of Capture' report findings during a press conference in Johannesburg on 3 November 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe says his early retirement from the company in December was based on a “common fundamental mistake”.

Board chairperson Ben Ngubane has conceded the error and says it’s the basis for Molefe’s reinstatement last week.

These admissions are contained in affidavits submitted to the North Gauteng High Court on Monday, in which the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are in two separate cases, trying to have Molefe’s return to the parastatal declared invalid.

On Tuesday, Ngubane and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown are due to explain the bungle to Parliament.

Ngubane says Molefe never resigned from the company as announced late last year when he stepped down following allegations levelled against him in the Public Protector’s report on state capture.

He now says Molefe left on account of taking early retirement.

It was only when Minister Lynne Brown questioned a R30 million payout last month, that the board realised it had made a legal error, and that the 50-year-old Molefe did not qualify for early retirement according to the pension rules.

His absence between January and May and during which time he served as an MP, is now being treated as unpaid leave.

Molefe has agreed to repay all the money he received from Eskom during this time.

For her part, Minister Lynne Brown says in a separate affidavit that she’s not opposing the case, but wishes to place on record that she never knew of the early retirement agreement until media reports of the payout.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)