SAFTU condemns Brian Molefe’s reappointment

 The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) strongly condemns the reappointment of Brian Molefe as Chief Executive Officer of Eskom.

It is outrageous that someone who is facing serious allegations in the report of the former Public Protector can continue to head this vital national enterprise.

The excuse that the Eskom board has given – that because Energy Minister Lynne Brown refused to allow the board to pay Molefe a R30 million pension, it could not then find a mutually acceptable pension arrangement, and that this therefore nullified his early retirement application – is utterly preposterous.

The Minister rightly argued that there was no justification for such a payout since he had only been employed at Eskom for 18 months, and he had not retired but resigned, as he himself said, “in the interest of good corporate governance”.

The Public Protector’s report revealed that Molefe exchanged 58 calls with Atil Gupta at the time a controversial deal was being made between Eskom and the Gupta-owned company Tegeta Exploration and Resources. These allegations are yet to be investigated, but Molefe has not yet offered any credible explanation of his role in this and other controversial deals.

What is particularly alarming is the statement by Eskom Chairperson Ben Ngubane that “We are facing serious problems. None of our applications for coal purchases had been approved by the Treasury. We need the skill that saved us last time.” Does this mean that he hopes Molefe will be able to persuade the new Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, to hand over the money for these purchases, which has predecessor did not approve?

As NUMSA General Secretary, Irvin Jim, said at the time when Molefe was offered the R30 million: ”It is shocking because there has been a deepening crisis on all the state owned enterprises. We have a weakness in the serious growth of cronyism and corruption … be it tenders or a particular trend of handshakes that this government has allowed itself to continue with.”

This latest news confirms that Comrade Jim was right and that the problem of cronyism and corruption is even worse.

SAFTU demands that the decision to reinstate Molefe must be immediately reversed and that the entire Eskom Board be dismissed and that a new democratically accountable Board be appointed with representatives from the Eskom workers and communities.

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