Court order bars Molefe from Eskom properties and working for the power utility

Former Eskom group chief executive Brian Molefe will have to explain his resignation/early retirement/unpaid leave to the Labour Court. (Oupa Nkosi)

Former Eskom group chief executive Brian Molefe will have to explain his resignation/early retirement/unpaid leave to the Labour Court. (Oupa Nkosi)

The high court in Pretoria has ordered Brian Molefe not to visit any Eskom properties for work purposes. The order was made by agreement between the Democratic Alliance, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Eskom and Molefe on Tuesday.

Molefe was sacked by the Eskom board and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown last week following public outrage and an inter-ministerial investigation into his return as Eskom group chief executive.

He then filed an application at the Labour Court for his dismissal to be set aside on the basis that it was “unlawful”.

The DA and the EFF filed court applications for Molefe’s reappointment to Eskom to be set aside soon after he returned to the power utility. The DA has sought to interdict Molefe from employment at Eskom.

The two parties asked the high court on Tuesday to postpone their case, pending a decision from the Labour Court. They also asked that Molefe not be allowed to work at Eskom in the meantime, and the court conceded.

“Mr Molefe undertakes that he will not attend at the Eskom head office, or at any of the Eskom sites, for purposes of performing his employment duties,” the order said.

The high court also ordered Eskom to not hire Molefe for any work.

The DA will intervene in the Labour Court matter now that the high court order has been made, said James Selfe, the DA’s federal executive chairperson.

“We are not sure when the proceedings at Labour Court will begin but are preparing papers to apply to intervene, as we are clearly an interested party,” he said.

Molefe came under fire after he attempted to explain his resignation from Eskom at the end of 2016 as early retirement for which he was owed R30-million in benefits, and then as unpaid leave after it emerged that he was too young for early retirement as per Eskom’s rules.

Molefe left Eskom when he turned 50, but employees can only receive early retirement benefits from 55. He resigned in 2016 following the release of the public protector’s State of Capture report, which resulted in his credibility being increasingly scrutinised .

The report alleged that Eskom had close ties with the Gupta family, who have been accused of capturing the Cabinet and state-owned enterprises. Molefe has denied these allegations, calling them “observations” in recent papers he filed to the Labour Court, yet he left Eskom to clear his name.

He was reinstated at Eskom in May after a resolution was taken by the Eskom board to allow him to return and resume his original employment contract. 

Brown has said she had no knowledge of the pension payout. She instructed the Eskom board to sack Molefe after an inter-ministerial committee tasked her to do so once it concluded its investigation into Molefe’s reappointment.

Molefe has accused Brown of firing him for political reasons. He will resume his case at the Labour Court to fight against his dismissal.

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