Molefe pension payout back in spotlight in Eskom inquiry

Brian Molefe left the power utility in November 2016 apparently in the 'interest of good governance'.

FILE: Brian Molefe. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Several days after the Democratic Alliance and trade union Solidarity went to court to nullify former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe’s R30 million pension payout, the controversy is back in the spotlight in Parliament on Tuesday.

Molefe left the power utility in November 2016 apparently in the “interest of good governance” following the release of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on state capture.

He’s told a parliamentary inquiry that he took early retirement.

The courts have yet to rule on this matter.

Two weeks ago, Molefe told Parliament’s Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee that he did not resign from Eskom even though Minister Lynne Brown said she believed he did.

Members of Parliament have been trying to sort fact from fiction as they attempt to figure out whether rules were bent or broken when Molefe left the company.

Only permanent employees are allowed to be members of the utility’s Pension and Provident Fund, but Molefe was on a five-year contract.

Eskom manager Anton Minnaar was quizzed by evidence leader Ntuthuzelo Vanara about his role in the controversy.

Vanara asked: “The efforts that were made by the minister, by the board from the earlier decision to employ Mr Molefe permanently to change it to a five-year fix term contract, that in your mind he was still a permanent employee?”

Minnaar responded: “That’s 100% correct chair. I’m still of that opinion.”

Molefe’s pension is but one of the scandals under investigation by the committee.

Lawmakers are probing how Gupta-aligned companies scored contracts with the state-owned power utility through alleged connections on the board and links to Eskom executives.