The Mercury

Cope plan to block Molefe’s return to work at Eskom

- Bheki Mbanjwa and Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

THE Congress of the People (Cope) was this morning expected to block entrances at Megawatt Park, Eskom’s headquarte­rs, in a bid to prevent Brian Molefe from reporting for duty as the power utility’s chief executive.

The protest comes amid growing concerns over the Eskom board’s decision to reinstate Molefe.

The ANC is expected to meet Public Enterprise­s Minister Lynne Brown this week to discuss what it called an “unfortunat­e and reckless” decision taken by the Eskom board.

Meanwhile, the DA has promised to approach the courts to have the decision set aside.

“The African National Congress will seek an engagement with Comrade Lynne Browne, the Minister of Public Enterprise­s, under whose authority Eskom falls and under whose direction the entity should operate on this matter,” the ANC said.

Molefe’s return to Eskom has been shrouded in controvers­y as was his departure. Credited for turning the power utility around, Molefe announced in November last year that he was stepping down from his position.

This followed the public protector’s State of Capture report which, among other things, made observatio­ns about his relationsh­ip with the Gupta family.

More controvers­y followed Molefe when in April it emerged he had been given a R30 million pension payout by Eskom. It was rejected by Brown.

At the weekend Brown endorsed the board’s decision to reinstate Molefe, saying it was a better option than the initial proposal to give him a handsome pension payout.

“In terms of the board’s proposal, Mr Molefe agreed to serve out the remainder of his original contract and to reconsider the terms of his contract that resulted in the previous pension arrangemen­t. I believe that Eskom will benefit from the return to the helm of the man primarily responsibl­e for the company’s turnaround.”

Cope spokesman and MP Dennis Bloem said members of Cope would block all the entrances. However, he could not give a figure of how many people were expected to take part in the protest.

“We are saying enough is enough. We cannot tolerate corruption anymore. This is clearly a corrupt act,” Bloem said

The DA said Molefe was never entitled to the R30m payout. “He did not qualify for early retirement as he was under the age of 55 and he only worked at Eskom for 21 months accruing an estimated maximum retirement benefit of only R2.5m,” said Natasha Mazzone, the DA spokespers­on on public enterprise­s.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa slammed Molefe’s reinstatem­ent at Eskom but questioned why the ruling party had deemed him fit to be a Member of Parliament in the first place.

“We also hope that it is not lost on South Africans that today the ruling party has big issues with Brian Molefe as Eskom chief executive, but it’s fine for him to represent it (and the people) as a Member of Parliament. Funny logic this, or is there something we are not being told?,” said Holomisa.

Eskom Board spokesman Khulani Qoma said all necessary measures were put in place to prevent any disruption of their plans for Molefe’s return: “Mr Molefe is accorded VIP protection as per Eskom policy.

Molefe could not be reached for comment.

THERE are no words to describe the sheer stupidity of Brian Molefe’s actions as CEO, MP and now CEO again.

From giving a R600 million interest and risk-free gift to the Zuma-linked Gupta coal mine, to visiting the Saxonwold shebeen and now back at Eskom.

From trying his luck with a ridiculous pension to discoverin­g this MP routine is no fun. I wondered how from a corporate mover and shaker, he was going to live on a humble MP salary and in one of the simple abodes.

I guess life was too tough as an MP.

SA and its institutio­ns are really becoming a sick joke – all funded by the ever-stretched taxpayer.

If the board of Eskom has any common sense, Brian Molefe should be given his marching orders. MUHAMMAD OMAR

Durban North

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