Pub­lic pro­tec­tor’s probe into Molefe, Eskom is pro­gress­ing

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - TEBOGO MONAMA

PUB­LIC Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane says in about a month’s time, she will give a progress re­port on her in­ves­ti­ga­tions into a huge pen­sion pay­out that dis­graced for­mer Eskom boss Brian Molefe was to re­ceive.

In a let­ter con­firm­ing to the DA that she was prob­ing the mat­ter, Mkhwe­bane said she was look­ing into al­le­ga­tions of im­proper and ir­reg­u­lar pay­ment of the pen­sion, run­ning into mil­lions of rand.

When Molefe left Eskom af­ter 18 months, he was set to be given a R30 mil­lion pen­sion pay­out.

Pub­lic En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Lynne Brown was forced to put the brakes on the golden hand­shake af­ter a pub­lic out­cry.

Molefe left his po­si­tion as Eskom’s chief ex­ec­u­tive and went to serve as an ANC mem­ber of Par­lia­ment in the wake of for­mer pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s state cap­ture re­port, which ques­tioned Molefe’s links to the Gup­tas.

Molefe is em­broiled in a Labour Court case to get his job back af­ter the power util­ity was or­dered to sever ties with him.

Yes­ter­day, Mkhwe­bane’s spokesper­son Cleopa­tra Mosana said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing Brown’s role and that of the Eskom board in the mat­ter.

She said the Molefe pay­out was part of the big­ger scope of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Eskom.

Eskom spokesper­son Khulu Phasiwe said the power util­ity wel­comed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“We are will­ing to co-op­er­ate with any in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Eskom. We see this as an op­por­tu­nity to clar­ify is­sues.”

Brown’s spokesper­son Colin Cruywagen said Brown wel­comed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the pub­lic pro­tec­tor and would co-op­er­ate with her of­fice.

Cruywagen said the depart­ment did not want to com­ment fur­ther as Molefe was fight­ing his dis­missal in court.

Molefe didn’t re­spond to calls or text mes­sages.

The DA’s spokesper­son on pub­lic en­ter­prises, Natasha Mazzone, has slammed the pay­out to Molefe.

“This out­ra­geous pay­out is a gross abuse of pub­lic funds, es­pe­cially as Molefe re­signed ‘in the in­ter­ests of good cor­po­rate gov­er­nance’ af­ter his close ties to the Gup­tas were re­vealed in the damning State of Cap­ture re­port.

“Molefe does not de­serve the R30m. In fact, he does not de­serve a cent. He must pay back ev­ery cent of the R30m,” Mazzone said.

She said the pay­out was even more un­fair, be­cause Eskom was in fi­nan­cial dire straits.

“It is un­ac­cept­able that an in­di­vid­ual such as Brian Molefe, who sits deeply in the pock­ets of the Gup­tas, is re­warded not for do­ing a good job for the peo­ple of our coun­try, but is paid mil­lions for serv­ing the in­ter­ests of one fam­ily,” she pointed out.

Mean­while, the Or­gan­i­sa­tion Un­do­ing Tax Abuse (Outa) has laid charges of high trea­son, ex­tor­tion, cor­rup­tion, fraud and theft against Min­er­als Re­sources Min­is­ter Mosebenzi Zwane for rev­e­la­tions con­tained in the leaked Gupta e-mails.

Outa claimed in their court pa­pers that Zwane used his of­fice to fa­cil­i­tate the sale of Op­ti­mum Coal from Glen­core to Tegeta – a Gupta-aligned com­pany.

The af­fi­davit reads: “Zwane, as a cit­i­zen of the Repub­lic of South Africa and Min­is­ter of Min­eral Re­sources, un­ques­tion­ably owed his al­le­giance to the Repub­lic.”

It adds: “He in­ten­tion­ally and un­law­fully par­tic­i­pated in ac­tiv­i­ties which vi­o­lated, threat­ened and en­dan­gered the ex­is­tence, in­de­pen­dence and se­cu­rity of the Repub­lic.”

Zwane’s spokesper­son, Martin Mad­lala, was not avail­able for com­ment.

IN CROSS-HAIRS: Brian Molefe

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