The time when a golden hand­shake back­fires

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS - LUYOLO MKENTANE

THIS was an event­ful week by all ac­counts – from a stronger rand, terms of ref­er­ence of state cap­ture in­quiry gazetted, to Brian Molefe or­dered to pay back the money and Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma be­ing “anx­ious” about his future.

For­mer Eskom chief ex­ec­u­tive Molefe was or­dered by a full bench of the High Court in Pre­to­ria on Thurs­day to pay back more than R10.3 mil­lion of the R30.1m that the Eskom Prov­i­dent and Pen­sion Fund paid him within 10 days.

The le­gal ea­gles found that Eskom’s de­ci­sion to waive penal­ties and buy Molefe an ex­tra 13 years of ser­vice, to­talling R30.1m, af­ter only 15 months of ser­vice at the age of 50, stretched credulity and was un­law­ful for want of com­pli­ance with its prov­i­dent and pen­sion fund’s rules.

Mean­while, Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, who led Team South Africa to the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum (WEF) an­nual meet­ing in Davos, Switzerland, when asked if South Africa was still pro­ceed­ing with its nu­clear build pro­gramme, said: “We have excess power, and we have no money for ma­jor nu­clear plant build­ing, and all of this re­ally needs to be looked at in the cur­rent con­text that we are in.

Ramaphosa’s charm of­fen­sive at the WEF also saw the rand strength­en­ing and breach­ing the R12 against the dol­lar mark for the first time since 2015.

He also re­vealed dur­ing an in­ter­view with BBC Hardtalk’s Zeinab Badawi that Zuma was anx­ious about his future. Badawi had re­marked that Zuma should re­sign im­me­di­ately if South Africa’s eco­nomic prospects were to im­prove.

He still has about 18 months left to serve in his pres­i­dency un­til the next na­tional elec­tion in 2019.

“A new dawn is on the hori­zon, we are now in­volved in a new era in South Africa. There’s a new lead­er­ship (of the ANC) and this new lead­er­ship is just barely a month old in its po­si­tion. We are deal­ing with this mat­ter and ob­vi­ously the key mat­ter ev­ery­one wants to see ad­dressed is the ten­ure that Pres­i­dent Zuma still has to serve out,” replied Ramaphosa.

In other news, the terms of ref­er­ence for the state cap­ture in­quiry were gazetted on Thurs­day and would, among other things, probe whether mem­bers of the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive or boards of state-owned en­ti­ties have been bribed to ac­cept cer­tain posts, in par­tic­u­lar, the al­le­ga­tions by for­mer deputy fi­nance min­is­ter Mce­bisi Jonas and Vytjie Men­tor that they were of­fered cab­i­net posts by mem­bers of the con­tro­versy-prone Gupta fam­ily, Zuma’s per­sonal friends.

PIC­TURE HENK KRUGER/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Brian Molefe was or­dered to pay back the money this past week.

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