Sunday Tribune

Brown backs Molefe for top job at Eskom

Department to look at pensions for SOE executives

- Siseko Njobeni

AS THE outrage over Brian Molefe’s return to Eskom tomorrow raged, Public Enterprise­s Minister Lynne Brown threw her weight behind the board’s decision to rescind Molefe’s retirement, saying the utility stood to benefit from Molefe’s return.

In a shock move, the Eskom board on Thursday said Molefe was due to return to the helm of the organisati­on after the two parties did not agree on a pension agreement after Molefe left Eskom in November last year.

The move elicited condemnati­on, including from the ANC which said the board’s decision was unfortunat­e and reckless. Until today, Molefe was an ANC Member of Parliament. He joined Parliament in February this year.

Brown, who has oversight responsibi­lity over Eskom, on Friday moved to defend the board’s decision, saying it was better than paying Molefe R30 million. Brown last month blocked Eskom’s payment of the R30m pension payout, hence the stalemate between Molefe and the utility which has resulted in his reinstatem­ent.


“I believe Eskom will benefit from the return to the helm of the man primarily responsibl­e for the company’s turnaround in 2015/2016, and that the board’s proposal ultimately represents a significan­tly better value propositio­n to the South African fiscus than the previous pension proposal.

“I informed the board I was satisfied with its re-evaluation process and recognised the merit in its proposal – on the proviso of its legality,” she said.

In light of the Eskom saga, Brown wants to overhaul the pension packages at stateowned companies.

I would like to reiterate my call for a decisive investigat­ion into the allegation­s

“I have asked my department to work with the stateowned enterprise­s to ensure the pension packages negotiated with the executives are in line with the cabinet-approved remunerati­on standards.”

Brown said the Eskom board had also informed her that the company appointed to investigat­e allegation­s against acting chief executive, Matshela Koko, had asked for more time to finalise its work. She said Koko had taken leave until the finalisati­on of the investigat­ion by the middle of next month. She said firm action would be taken against Koko if there was evidence of wrongdoing.


“I would like to reiterate my call for a decisive investigat­ion into the allegation­s of maladminis­tration raised in various reports, including the former public protector’s State of Capture Report. Clouds of unproven allegation­s and counter allegation­s are doing state-owned companies and our country a great disservice.”

She said there was a public perception that Eskom was in a bad financial state.

“The company is financiall­y sustainabl­e. Compared to what I said three years ago, the company is in a much better state. Molefe is the person who brought Eskom where it is today after three years. I know he was paid to do the maintenanc­e and keep the lights on. It was his job to do so but I can tell you, when I sat here three years ago or two and a half years ago, I really did not know that the lights would go on,” she said.

The public outrage centred on the contents of the public protector’s report, she said. The report recommende­d further investigat­ion.

“Until (President Jacob Zuma) uses his prerogativ­e and calls a commission of inquiry or there is another form of investigat­ion, Molefe is not guilty of anything yet. He must be seen as innocent until he is proven guilty,” said Brown.

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