Chick­ens come home to roost

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

THE MAN who gave us the “Sax­on­wold she­been” and fa­mously shed a tear over the hor­ri­ble claims against him in the State of Cap­ture re­port, has some­thing to cry about now he has to re­turn what he re­ceived when he left Eskom two years ago.

The trou­bled paras­tatal, it­self a by­word for state cap­ture, agreed to give Brian Molefe, its for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive, a R30 mil­lion pen­sion when he left/ was fired/ re­signed/ re­tired/ took leave af­ter be­ing named in for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s re­port.

Madon­sela found Molefe had called Ajay Gupta 58 times be­tween Au­gust 2015 and March 2016 and vis­ited the Gup­tas’ Sax­on­wold home more than once a week at a time when the fam­ily was try­ing to buy a coal mine to sup­ply Eskom.

Molefe left the paras­tatal with his golden hand­shake amid ver­bal gym­nas­tics from the board de­fend­ing the de­ci­sion. Af­ter a brief ten­ure in Par­lia­ment as an MP he was re­in­stated at Eskom, left again and re-emerged as an in­stant colonel in the army.

On Thurs­day, the Pre­to­ria High Court wasted no time in find­ing, “The de­ci­sion by Eskom to waive penal­ties and buy Mr Molefe an ex­tra 13 years of ser­vice to­talling R30.1m af­ter only 15 months’ ser­vice at the age of 50 stretches in­credulity and is un­law­ful.

“What is most dis­turb­ing is the to­tal lack of dig­nity and shame by peo­ple in lead­er­ship po­si­tions who abuse pub­lic funds with naked greed for their own ben­e­fit with­out a mo­ment’s con­sid­er­a­tion of the cir­cum­stances of fel­low cit­i­zens who live in ab­so­lute squalor,” Judge Elias Ma­to­jane said.

Molefe’s woes aren’t over. On Thurs­day, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma al­lowed the orig­i­nal terms of the com­mis­sion of in­quiry on state cap­ture to go ahead. The for­mer “won­der” of Eskom, given credit for fix­ing load-shed­ding, must pay back the money and he won’t be the only one cry­ing. There are oth­ers who are fi­nally in the state’s sights.

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