The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday filed an urgent two-part application with the North Gauteng High Court, opposing Brian Molefe’s return to Eskom as chief executive.
“The first part of our urgent application seeks to interdict Brian Molefe from performing any duties or functions as group chief executive at Eskom, as well as to prevent him from receiving any benefits associated with the position,” explained James Selfe, chairperson of the DA’s federal council.
“The second part requests that the court review and set aside the reappointment of Mr Molefe as CEO of Eskom, as we believe this reappointment to be irrational.”
Molefe agreed to return to the post of Eskom chief executive last week after resigning as an ANC MP. He had resigned as chief executive in November 2016 after former public protector Thuli Madonsela connected Molefe with the Guptas in her report on state capture.
Last month, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown blocked a R30-million retirement payout for Molefe. But on Friday, she defended Molefe’s reappointment, saying it was better than paying him the R30-million.
Selfe seemed unimpressed.
“The fact that … Brown attempts to justify this ludicrous decision by claiming that it ‘represents a significantly better value proposition’ to paying out the obscene and possibly illegal R30-million pension benefit, simply does not hold water.”
‘Saxonwold shebeen defence’
He said it was common cause that Molefe was deeply and fundamentally connected to the Gupta family, “the chief suspects in the capture of state institutions and enterprises for their own personal benefit”.
“Mr Molefe was forced into contriving, on live television, one of the most bizarre and outlandish explanations for his frequent visits to Saxonwold, where the Gupta compound is located – the notorious ‘Saxonwold shebeen’ defence.”
On Friday, Brown maintained that Molefe had not been found guilty of anything and must be regarded as innocent until proven guilty.
Selfe said he may well not have been found guilty in a court yet, but that the public protector’s findings against him were binding and had not been overturned.
“Mr Molefe, therefore, remains thoroughly implicated in the dodgy Tegeta and Optimum Coal contracts which benefited the Guptas directly. He is therefore not fit to head up any state-owned enterprise, let alone one responsible for driving economic growth through energy security.”
Selfe said the “unprecedented recycling of such a compromised individual, by the ANC, most certainly warrants intervention by the court”.
“If all goes well, we expect the matter to be on the court roll in the next two weeks and look forward to presenting our arguments.”
Minister to meet ANC leaders
Meanwhile, Molefe reported for work on Monday at Eskom headquarters, Megawatt Park. Videos on social media revealed how Molefe received a warm welcome from some staff members, who greeted him with singing and dancing, while Molefe shows off some dance steps himself.
The Congress of the People (Cope) wanted to prevent Molefe from showing up at work on Monday morning.
Spokesperson Dennis Bloem condemned in the “strongest possible terms the intimidation and harassment” of Cope supporters, who were stopped several times on their way to Megawatt Park.
“We were informed that police with traffic cops were full out to disrupt our blocking of the gates at Eskom. Therefore, our people were not there at the scheduled time, many of our people didn’t even reach the Eskom offices,” said Bloem.
According to Bloem, Cope had been reliably informed that Molefe had received VIP protection, and had arrived at the office at 5am to avoid their blockade.
“Brian Molefe must not think that this is the end of our protest. It is just the beginning,” he said.
Meanwhile, Brown was due to meet ANC leaders at Luthuli House on Monday. The governing party condemned Molefe’s reappointment on Friday. – News24