The Constitutional Court have confirmed that former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has run out of road in his bid to avoid paying back the “golden handshake” he received from the electricity firm back in 2017, signalling a significant victory for the DA and Solidarity in the process.
The Constitutional Court has ruled against former Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe. He must pay back part of the R30 million pension he received. The Pretoria High Court found that he has ”enriched” himself unlawfully from the Eskom Pension Fund in 2018.
— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) August 7, 2019
Both the political party and the trade union have been instrumental in holding Molefe to account, fighting his appeals in several other courts before landing at one of the highest authorities in the land. ConCourt have rejected his pleas, forcing the Gupta-linked official to pay back the money after he “unlawfully enriched himself”.
How much money does Brian Molefe have to pay Eskom?
In total, Brian Molefe is believed to have received something in the region of R30 million as an early retirement package. Inexplicably, he returned to work at Eskom after landing this enormous windfall. Molefe was put under severe pressure to quit and was eventually ousted.
However, the ex-CEO has been able to keep hold on to a few of his millions: ConCourt told him that R11 million must be returned to Eskom after they dismissed his appeal. It may not be the full whack, but Shadow Public Enterprises Minister Natasha Mazzone is jubilant with the ruling and she has even bigger plans for Molefe.
Brian Molefe “may face criminal trial”
The DA representative – who played a key part in grilling Brian Molefe and his colleagues during the Eskom Inquiry – believes this is the start of a new era for South Africa, as they rally against the hangover of state capture. Earlier this year, the SOE managed to recover R600 million from Trillian – another pawn in the Guptas’ state-sponsored looting.
Mazzone, however, wants to take things one step further and get Brian Molefe to face a criminal trial:
“The R11 million repayment is certainly not going to solve the debt crisis at Eskom, but it sets an important precedent nonetheless. This ruling is a significant moment in the fight against state capture as it shows that those who were involved or implicated in corruption are not above the law, no matter their political connections.”
“Molefe paying back part of the R30 million ‘golden handshake’ will by no means exonerate him from the serious case of underperformance, mismanagement, corruption and capture against him. He still has a case for which he must answer, and must have his day in court.”
The trouble with Trillian
Brian Molefe was also implicated during the Trillian judgement, as the courts found that he’d indulged in the perks offered by the consultancy firm once their business was finalised. He was apparently wooed by an all-expenses-paid trip to Dubai before agreeing to a multi-million rand deal.
We’re sure a court of law would love to have another look at that.
After leaving Eskom in disgrace two years ago, Brian Molefe may still face accountability from one of the sternest lawyers in the country: Trade union group Solidarity are weighing-up a bid to get Gerrie Nel to privately prosecute the former director, as they attempt to take South Africa’s SOEs to task.
Molefe has been accused of all sorts of dodgy behaviour during his time at the stricken utility, and his cosy relationship with the Guptas has been the source of intense scrutiny. However, Nel’s agenda may already be set out.
Why Gerrie Nel may go for Brian Molefe
Solidarity have already started a process in terms of section 165 of the Companies Act to have mismanagement and corruption thoroughly investigated at Denel. The arms company have been struggling to pay full salaries to their staff, and the lobby group are trying to discover where money has been lost.
However, they are also keen to institute these proceedings against Eskom. Any such investigation would likely isolate Molefe as a key player in state corruption, with his R30 million pension payout again coming under the microscope. SA’s Constitutional Court is currently deliberating on the validity of the transaction. But Solidarity are set to speed things up:
“Solidarity will also request advocate Gerrie Nel of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit to institute a private prosecution process against Molefe. This comes after the National Prosecuting Authority has not yet taken any steps against Molefe following Solidarity’s fraud charges against him.”
“Solidarity and Molefe will also soon meet in the Constitutional Court about monies owed to Solidarity after the court had found in favour of Solidarity that Molefe had enriched him unlawfully from Eskom’s Pension Fund.”
SAA also in the firing line
As part of their “shake a fist at tax” campaign, Solidarity are also filing a business rescue application against South African Airways and Pravin Gordhan. They claim that SAA broke multiple promises to them about job security and sustainable work, and this would be the first such application filed against a state-owned entity.
Gerrie Nel has recently kept himself occupied with attempts to privately prosecute Duduzane Zuma and Grace Mugabe, with no success in either case. However, there are arguably enough skeletons in the closet of Brian Molefe to tempt the Bulldog back into action.