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‘My career doesn’t need help’: Brian Molefe on allegations of being earmarked for top cabinet job

03 March 2021 - 16:01 By kgaugelo masweneng
Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe appears at the state capture inquiry on Wednesday.
Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe appears at the state capture inquiry on Wednesday.
Image: Alaister Russell

Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe told the state capture inquiry that his career did not need an external influence to flourish — contradicting claims by former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.

In an affidavit to the commission, Jonas had claimed that Molefe benefited from his proximity with the controversial Gupta family. He alleged that one of the brothers said they worked closely with a number of people, “including Lynne Brown and Brian Molefe, and, as a result, they were protected”.

“He said that Mr Molefe is very safe and his career path was very clear,” Jonas's affidavit read.

This was the same meeting, the former deputy finance minister said, where he was allegedly offered R600m.

It emerged at the commission that Jonas was informed that Eskom was a path for Molefe to go to parliament, and that he was earmarked for the position of finance minister.

On Wednesday, Molefe denied that his career was dictated by the Gupta family. He was responding to questions by evidence leader advocate Pule Seleka on his appointment to parliament after taking early retirement at Eskom.

“My career does not need exogenous factors. I can quite well take care of myself. With the experience, training and education that I have, I can survive anywhere. I can be up to any task that I’m given. I don’t agree that I require help,” Molefe said.

Weeks after leaving Eskom in 2017, Molefe was nominated by the North West province as an MP.

He resigned from the legislature after two months to deal with allegations about his pension payout.

He said the ANC sounded like a good place to retire to.

Molefe resigned as Eskom CEO after being implicated in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s “State of Capture” report.

The much-contested report mentioned phone call records showing that Molefe and the Gupta brothers had made 58 phone calls among themselves within a short period.

“The state capture report by the public protector violated the rules of natural justice and the constitution itself. It violated my right to be heard, so I applied for early retirement because how do I look at my employees in the eye when I am implicated in a Chapter 9 report,” Molefe said on Wednesday.

Asked why he felt comfortable coming back to Eskom after resigning from parliament, Molefe said: “I was confident that there is nothing in the public protector’s report that can be sustained.”

Earlier, the commission heard that President Cyril Ramaphosa was appointed as a non-executive director and chair of Optimum coal mine.

Seleka told the commission that once Molefe had concluded his evidence, the president would file an affidavit in response to allegations made against him.