Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Brian Molefe: I resigned and retired at the same time

Army officer and former MP Brian Molefe on Wednesday argued that he remains the chief executive of Eskom because he resigned and retired at the same time — or because, if he engaged in a criminal conspiracy, he never left Eskom at all.

The DA and Solidarity are before the high court in Pretoria to argue that Molefe should repay the part of a R30-million golden handshake already paid to him under the guise of an early retirement.

But on Wednesday morning the opposition party and the pressure group took less than a combined hour to make their interlinked cases, which were extensively covered on paper.

Molefe’s two senior counsel advocates, however, had much more to say in argument, some of it slightly odd.

Since late in 2016, Molefe has been considered to have resigned from Eskom under a cloud, then said to have actually retired, then returned to the job, only to be fired from it. But in fact he both retired and resigned at the same time, his advocate Arnold Subel told the court.

“He had resigned. He had resigned on the basis of early retirement,” said Subel. “Factually that is correct. He resigned.”

Because resigning and retiring are not mutually exclusive, Subel said, there may have been a “classic misunderstanding” by the likes of the public and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown that Molefe had not been due a retirement package, but nothing that a court should take notice of.

And if the DA and Solidarity are correct that there had been some grand conspiracy to land Molefe his golden handshake, which he denies, then the case should be dismissed anyway, Subel contended.

“If this was a disguised transaction, then with respect it is invalid,” said Subel. “So being invalid you don’t then have a valid termination … If there isn’t a valid termination, then his re-entry in 2017 is not in terms of a new administrative act.”

Instead, Molefe would simply have been returning to an office he had never legally left, and is now due to occupy, and the DA and Solidarity would have nothing to review.

The hearing is to continue on Wednesday afternoon.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Phillip De Wet
Guest Author

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Mkhize throws the book at the Special Investigating Unit

It’s a long shot at political redemption for the former health minister and, more pressingly, a bid to avert criminal charges

Pockets of instability in Kenya are underpinned by unequal development

Stability in Kenya hinges on a just, equitable distribution of resources, and a commitment to progress human development for the marginalised

Eastern Cape premier Mabuyane lives large amid province’s poverty

Oscar Mabuyane and MEC Babalo Madikizela allegedly used a portion of state funds for struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s commemoration for their own benefit

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…