Sunday Tribune

Molefe’s return: protector thrown

Eskom defends controvers­ial decision as capture report cited


PUBLIC Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she was taken aback by the Eskom board’s controvers­ial decision to reinstate Brian Molefe to his position as chief executive of the power utility.

On Friday, Mkhwebane said she was surprised by the turn of events as Molefe had resigned to clear his name after the damning findings against him in the State of Capture report.

“The public protector is taken aback by the latest developmen­ts because when he (Molefe) announced his departure from Eskom last November, Mr Molefe indicated that he considered the resignatio­n a correct thing to do, which he did ‘in the interests of (Eskom) and good corporate governance’. He added that he was going to clear his name,” Mkhwebane’s spokespers­on Oupa Segalwe said.

He said Mkhwebane viewed Molefe’s resignatio­n as a commendabl­e move consistent with the principles of good governance.

“The State of Capture report is before the court, where all the issues will be ventilated. The public protector cannot say much about the matter because it is sub judice. She calls on everyone involved and interested to give that process an opportunit­y to run its course. Whatever the outcomes thereof, the public protector will comply.”

In the report, former public protector Thuli Madonsela accused Molefe of favouring the Gupta family in awarding them coal-supply contracts at Eskom.

Public Enterprise­s Minister Lynne Brown was at pains to explain the decision to journalist­s on Friday, saying Molefe must be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Yesterday, ANC Women’s League North West secretary Bridgette Seakamo, who is an ex-officio member of the party’s national executive committee, said she was “shocked” at Molefe’s return to his old job at the Megawatt Park headquarte­rs in Sunninghil­l, Johannesbu­rg. Brian Molefe has been reinstated as Eskom chief executive.

“The details were still sketchy. Maybe there are burning issues or reasons why he returned. We expect him to explain the decision to the provincial leadership as the province that backed his deployment to the National Assembly,” said Seakamo, speaking on the sidelines of the league’s regional congress in Madibeng.

The SACP joined the ANC and opposition parties in condemning the reinstatem­ent of Molefe to Eskom. In a statement after the meeting of the party’s top brass, the SACP called for the reappointm­ent to be reversed.

“The Politburo noted with deep concern the growing evidence of a reckless, parasitic network within government and within the ANC that operates outside of any collective discipline of either cabinet, or of the ANC’S national executive committee and other constituti­onal structures. What is more, this network appears to enjoy the support, tacit or otherwise, of President Jacob Zuma himself.”

On Friday, the ANC, in a statement, said the decision to reinstate Molefe before the resolving of State of Capture report was unfortunat­e and reckless.

“The decision therefore to reinstate him in his former position without these matters being resolved is tonedeaf to the South African public’s absolute exasperati­on and anger at what seems to be government’s lacklustre and lackadaisi­cal approach to dealing decisively with corruption – perceived or real,” said ANC spokespers­on Zizi Kodwa.

Cope threatened to block Molefe from entering the Eskom officies.

Eskom board spokespers­on Khulani Qoma said the backlash against Molefe’s return to the power utility “is based on weak reasons”.

“Brian Molefe has not been found guilty by any legitimate constituti­onal entity. It’s a sign of grave immaturity among the citizens of a constituti­onal democracy to depart from the principle of ‘innocence until proven guilty’ in haste to prematurel­y destroy someone’s name.”

 ??  ?? Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
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