Public protector’s probe into Molefe, Eskom is progressing
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