South Africa


Eskom claws back illicit R30-million pension payment to former CEO Brian Molefe

Eskom claws back illicit R30-million pension payment to former CEO Brian Molefe
Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe during a media conference where Eskom released its interim financial results on 3 November 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / The Times / Alon Skuy)

The announcement from Eskom comes a week after Brian Molefe and former Transnet bigwigs were arrested and charged in connection with corruption worth R398.4-million at the state-owned rail, port and pipeline company. Molefe is a former CEO of Eskom and Transnet.

On Wednesday, 7 September, Eskom confirmed in a statement that it has successfully recovered the R30-million it unlawfully paid to the Eskom Pension & Provident Fund (EPPF).

“In July 2022 the North Gauteng high court reaffirmed a 2018 high court judgment that had reviewed and set aside a 2016 early retirement agreement between Molefe and Eskom,” the statement reads.

The matter originated in 2016 when Molefe was granted early retirement and Eskom had committed to paying the early retirement penalties and purchasing of the additional years of service on Molefe’s five-year contract, which came to R30.1-million after only 16 months of service.

At that time, Molefe averred that Eskom had mistakenly approved his early retirement in 2016 when he wasn’t eligible (he was 50 and early retirement can only be approved at 55) and that he should be allowed to return to work at Eskom.

The pension fund matter was heard by the high court following a Scorpio investigation in July 2017 highlighting Molefe’s lies about his retirement and showed how the public was defrauded and the taxman scammed.

The matter was then ventilated at the high court in Pretoria. Read in Daily Maverick the judgment of Judge Elias Matojane which read: “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’”.

He then petitioned for leave to appeal the high court decision which was dismissed by the Constitutional Court and ruled that he must pay back a portion of the R30-million pension he had already received in 2016.

SCORPIO: In addition to his R30m Eskom pension bonanza, Brian Molefe also got a R1.3m tax discount

Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

Molefe had resigned from Eskom after former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela exposed his close ties to the Gupta family in her State of Capture report.

Eskom said it had recovered the R30 million from the pension fund. It was not immediately clear whether Molefe himself had paid back pension funds he had already received from the fund and which he was ordered by the court to return.

In the Pretoria High Court ruling in July, Molefe was ordered to pay back R9.9-million to the fund, an amount he had disputed.

The pension recovery comes a week after Molefe and former Transnet bigwigs were arrested and slapped with charges in connection with corruption worth R398.4-million at the state-owned company.

Last week Monday, 29 August, Molefe and former group financial officer Anoj Singh — described as the ‘primary architects’ of State Capture at Transnet — and other individuals were arrested by the National Prosecuting’s (NPA) Investigative Directorate, assisted by the Hawks. 

They were slapped with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), fraud, corruption and money laundering. Molefe was at the helm of Transnet from 2011 to 2015, during which time the alleged corruption took place, and was a hands-on CEO at the state-owned freight, rail and logistics company — for all the wrong reasons.

The matter against the former Transnet bigwigs relates to a dodgy R93-million double payment flowing from the parastatal deal for 1,064 locomotives.

The extent of how Transnet became the hub of the Gupta looting frenzy was laid bare by acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in Part 2 of his State Capture report on how the parastatal became the principal site of looting by the Gupta enterprise and how Denel’s board destroyed the company to benefit the family.

Molefe will be back in the are back in the Palm Ridge Specialised Court on 14 October, along with: Singh; Regiments Capital directors Nevin Pillay and Litha Nyhonyha; former Transnet chief financial officer Garry Pita; Eric Wood, CEO of the defunct Trillian Capital Partners; former Transnet Group Treasurer Phetolo Ramosebudi; alleged “Gupta fixer” Kuben Moodley and former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama.  DM


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