Former Eskom boss Brian Molefe loses bid to get his old job back
The high court in Pretoria says former Eskom boss Brian Molefe has no prospect of success in his bid to appeal the ruling that his return to the power utility was invalid and that he must pay back an estimated R11-million of his R30-million pension payout.
On Tuesday the full bench‚ in the judgment read by Judge Elias Matojane and confirmed by Judge Hans Fabricius‚ dismissed Molefe’s leave to appeal the January judgment‚ with costs.
"There is no reasonable prospect of a different court coming to a different conclusion‚" Judge Matojane said in the brief judgment.
Molefe argued through his advocate‚ Arnold Subel SC‚ that the findings against him were incorrect as he had asked for an early retirement and that he was under the impression that he was allowed to do so and that he was entitled to the pension payout.
Advocate Paul Kennedy SC‚ for the Democratic Alliance‚ disagreed with Molefe’s argument‚ saying it flew in the face of his claim that he resigned in the interest of good governance. He said this argument was “absolute nonsense and completely irrational”.
Solidarity's chief executive‚ Dirk Hermann‚ welcomed the judgment‚ saying Molefe's appeal was an abuse of court processes. “He must pay back what was illegally paid to him‚ the full amount and with interest. It was an unlawful payout. He aimed to enrich himself at the expense of taxpayers‚” Hermann said.
Barry Farber‚ Molefe’s instructing attorney‚ said his client was a law abiding citizen and would abide by the judgment. He‚ however‚ said he would take instructions from Molefe on how to proceed.
In November 2016 Molefe resigned from Eskom under a cloud following the damning findings of the then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report‚ implicating Molefe in an abuse of his position to benefit the controversial Gupta family. He briefly returned to Eskom months later following the furore over his pension payout‚ before his reappointment was rescinded.
The January 2018 judgment by the high court in Pretoria rubbished Molefe’s assertion that he never resigned but took an early pension. The decision of the board of Eskom to accept Molefe’s early retirement was reviewed and then Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown’s decision to appoint Molefe as CEO were set aside. Molefe was told to pay back the estimated R11-million he had already received as part of the total R30.1-million pension payout. Molefe was also ordered to pay the legal costs of Solidarity‚ the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters.