It took only a few minutes on Thursday morning for the High Court in Pretoria to snatch away former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe’s million-rand pension payment. A three-judge bench ruled not just that Molefe was not entitled to his R30-million pension from Eskom, but also that his reappointment by the parastatal last year was unlawful and should be set aside. Oh – and Molefe needs to pay back the pension money already received from Eskom within 10 days. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The ruling delivered by Judge Elias Matojane was short and to the point.
Brian Molefe’s reinstatement to his position as Eskom CEO in May 2017 was “at variance with the principle of legality”, and is set aside.
Molefe’s claim that he never resigned from Eskom, but merely mistakenly accepted early retirement, is “false”.
Molefe’s pension agreement is invalid and any payments made to him “patently unlawful”.
Molefe must pay back the money he has already received from Eskom within 10 days, as well as covering the legal costs of the court matter.
The ruling is a smack-down to Molefe and the former Eskom board, but a victory for applicants led by the trade union Solidarity but eventually including both the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Molefe had previously argued that he and the Eskom board had mistakenly accepted early retirement after a tenure at the head of Eskom amounting to just 16 months, and that he should be reinstated as the CEO of the electricity board.
When he left Eskom in December 2016, he was awarded a total pension package of R30-million, of which he reportedly asked for around R11-million in cash with the remainder to be paid out monthly. The money Molefe has already received will now have to be returned and he is ineligible for further ongoing payments.
While Molefe currently draws at least two salaries, it’s to be hoped that he didn’t blow his R11-million pay-out all at once now that it needs to be paid back. Molefe is employed both as an ANC member of Parliament and as a “reserve force” member of the South African National Defence Force. MPs take home just over R1 million per year, while Molefe’s SANDF salary is reported to be R57,000 a month.
Molefe was not in court on Thursday morning, and his phone was going straight to voicemail after the judgment. DM
File Photo: Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe Photo: Courtesy EE Publishers