No plans to appoint Molefe anywhere else after Eskom‚ ministerial committee says

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The IMC‚ headed by Justice Minister Michael Masutha‚ announced that they had found the decision to reappoint Molefe earlier this month had been wrong‚ and had been done without the approval of Minister of Public Enterprises‚ Lynne Brown.

Brown has directed the board of Eskom to rescind the decision and notify Molefe.

She had also directed them to give her two names for potential candidates to act as CEO. She said an acting CEO would be appointed in 48 hours.

She said she was returning to meet with the board following the press conference to iron out the details of Molefe’s departure and could not comment on what sort of financial compensation he would be given‚ if any.

Molefe stepped down as CEO in November last year following the release of the Public Protector’s state of Capture report.

He was sworn in as an ANC MP in February this year.

He returned to Eskom in May‚ but his reinstatement was immediately challenged in court‚ by among others‚ the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance.

Eskom admitted in court papers that Molefe had erroneously been allowed to take early retirement.

His contract does not allow retirement before the age of 55. Molefe is 50.

The board had also admitted they had processed his pension under retrenchment provisions‚ and not retirement.

When they realized the errors‚ the board attempted to correct them by rescinding his retirement.

Masutha said it was the view of the IMC that these errors could have been fixed administratively and it was “in the best interests” of good governance and the country that the decision to reinstate him be rescinded.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said that the decision taken by the board had done “harm to the reputations” of the company‚ the board and of Minister and “should not have been taken in the first instance”.

But he said‚ it was no reflection on Molefe’s capability.

“He still has an enormous contribution to make‚” Gigaba said‚ but added “there is no decision about where he is going to go”.

“There are no plans to appoint him anywhere else.”

While the decision could impact ratings agencies‚ he believed “state-owned enterprises shouldn’t act correctly just to please ratings agencies” but should do so because they were a public asset.

Gigaba added that South African state owned enterprises had government guarantees exceeding R400 billion‚ with Eskom taking up R350 billion of this.

“We want our SOEs to be using these guarantees to strengthen their balance sheets rather than be viewed as financing inefficiency.”

Brown meanwhile said the board’s performance would be adjudicated ahead of the Eskom AGM to be held in three weeks time‚ after which she would “have the opportunity to rotate the board” if necessary.

– TMG Parliament

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