Once high-flying Brian Molefe pleads poverty at bail hearing
While boss of Eskom he got R18.2m in two years but now, surviving on about R64,000 a month, his earnings are ‘not economically glamorous’
During his last two years as group CEO at Eskom, Brian Molefe took home more than R9m a year as a top-earning parastatal boss.
And before his Eskom gig, he took home R12.4m between 2013 and 2014 as group CEO of Transnet, according to Transnet's annual statements.
But on Monday Molefe pleaded poverty when applying for bail in the Palm Ridge magistrate’s court, where he is facing fraud and corruption charges. He was granted R50,000 bail.
After his controversial move from Transnet to Eskom, Molefe’s earnings skyrocketed to R18.2m in the financial years 2015/6 and 2016/17.
The 2015/16 Eskom financial statements showed that Molefe raked in R9.4m. This comprised R6.9m in salaries and R2.4m in bonuses, according to the utility’s financial statements.
I have a civil judgment that was granted against me with costs. The outstanding debt relating to the costs is R420,000. I pay R10,000 per month towards these costs.Brian Molefe
The after financial year, which he did not complete after he resigned, he amassed R8.8m, made up of R2.1m in bonuses, R6m in salary and R732,000 in other payments.
On Monday, Molefe, 55, during his first court appearance, appeared irritated and did not make much eye contact with the people packed into the courtroom.
Molefe’s legal representative, Mpho Molefe, said his client had to borrow from family to put together the R50,000 bail. He said Molefe had managed to raise just R20,000 for bail, as he was now a self-employed pensioner with earnings that were not “economically glamorous”.
Molefe announced in November 2016 that he was resigning from Eskom. It followed then-public protector advocate Thuli Madonsela’s report on state capture allegations‚ in which Molefe featured extensively.
This was just a week after he had become emotional and appeared to break down in tears while trying to explain his movements in Saxonwold‚ the Johannesburg suburb where the Gupta family lived. Asked why his cellphone records regularly placed him near the Gupta mansion, he claimed he had been visiting “a Saxonwold shebeen”.
Mpho said while reading Molefe’s statement into the court record that his client earned a monthly pension of R52,000 and R12,000 from MKB Logistics where he is a director.
Molefe claimed that he was financially liable for, among other things, school fees for his minor children, amounting to R12,750 a month, R11,518 for electricity, and medical aid payments for four of his children.
“I have a civil judgment that was granted against me with costs. The outstanding debt relating to the costs is R420,000. I pay R10,000 per month towards these costs,” Molefe claimed in his statement.
He also cited a number of matters in court for which he was paying legal costs, including a July R5m cost order, which he was appealing.
He said he owns a property at Zwavel’s Nest Estate in Zwavelpoort, east of Pretoria.
Molefe told the court that he owned three vehicles, an Audi A4, a Nissan Navara bakkie and a Ford Bantam. He also owns two motorbikes — a Harley-Davidson and a BMW.
Molefe and former Transnet and Eskom CFO Anoj Singh, alongside Regiments directors Niven Pillay and Litha Nyhonyha, have been joined in a fraud and corruption case involving former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama, former acting CFO Garry Pita, former group treasurer Phetolo Ramosebudi, Regiments Capital shareholder Eric Wood and his employee Daniel Roy, and Kuben Moodley, owner of Albatime.
They will be back in court on October 14. The National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate has not ruled out further arrests in the matter.
The charges relate to R93m which Transnet paid Trillian for organising a R30bn club loan to help buy 1,064 locomotives. It was allegedly a double payment as Transnet had already paid Regiments, where Wood was also a director, for the work. Trillian allegedly did nothing to earn the fee but invoiced Transnet.