Top court confirms that Brian Molefe must pay back ill-gotten millions
Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has failed in his bid before the Constitutional Court to appeal a decision that he pay back some of the R30m pension he got from the power utility.
Trade union Solidarity said on Wednesday that the court had rejected Molefe’s application for leave to appeal the decision, made by the high court in January 2018.
The high court reviewed and set aside a decision taken by the board of Eskom in November 2016 to accept Molefe's “early retirement” proposal.
The high court also declared that any payment received by Molefe under any purported pension agreement between him and Eskom was invalid. Molefe was ordered to repay such amounts.
Molefe’s application for leave to appeal the high court decision was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2018.
He then applied for leave to appeal at the Constitutional Court.
Solidarity said it would immediately institute action to collect the cost order due to the union and to ensure that the millions Molefe got from the Eskom Pension Fund were repaid.
The union launched separate high court actions against Molefe and Eskom Holdings against the payout. Solidarity's application was consolidated with applications by the DA and the EFF.
“We are delighted with the ruling. One can only hide in the courts up to a certain point, but the law always prevails,” said Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann.
The Democratic Alliance also welcomed the Constitutional Court order, and said Molefe’s "outrageous" attempts to have the high court’s decision overturned was doomed from the start. He never deserved such an inflated “pension” payout in the first place, the party said.
"His ridiculous insistence that his return to Eskom was not a reinstatement but a continuation of his contract was untrue and an attempt to justify a blatantly inflated 'golden handshake', at a time that the public protector linked him to the Guptas' Saxonwold compound, followed by the notorious 'Saxonwold Shebeen defence'," the DA's shadow minister of public enterprises Natasha Mazzone said.
She said the R11m repayment was certainly not going to solve the debt crisis at Eskom, but it set an important precedent nonetheless.
"This ruling is a significant moment in the fight against state capture as it shows that those who were involved or implicated in corruption are not above the law, no matter their political connections."
She said Molefe paying back part of the R30m “golden handshake” would not exonerate him from the serious case of underperformance, mismanagement, corruption and capture against him.
"He still has a case for which he must answer, and must have his day in court," Mazzone said.