The ruling party has condemned the “unfortunate and reckless” decision to reappoint Brian Molefe at Eskom
“Mr Molefe left Eskom under a cloud following the release of the public protector’s report into State Capture late last year,” spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.
“The report, while still under review made observations against Mr Molefe which, at the time he had deemed serious and significant enough to warrant his resignation.”
The decision to reinstate Molefe without the observations of the report having been conclusively dealt with, was “tone deaf to the South African public’s absolute exasperation and anger” over matters of corruptions, Kodwa said.
The ANC would be seeking a meeting with Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown over the move.
South African’s woke up on Friday morning to the news that Molefe will be making an audacious return to power utility Eskom after he resigned under a cloud.
His return was confirmed by board spokesperson Khulani Qoma in an interview with Radio702, who said Molefe would return to work on Monday.
The Organisation Against Tax Abuse (Outa) will be considering whether there is room to take legal action over the move, according to its energy spokesperson Ted Blom.
“Government is between a rock and a hard place over the nuclear programme,” said Blom.
But Molefe was its greatest advocate he argued, so it was “unsurprising” that he was now headed back to Eskom when these plans faced serious headwinds.
State ambitions to build 9 600 megawatts of nuclear power, spearheaded by Eskom, were recently dealt a major blow by a high court decision.
Molefe resigned as chief executive after being named in the public protector’s State of Capture report.
In her report, which recommended a judicial commission of inquiry into her findings, former public protector Thuli Madonsela noted the extensive communications of Molefe with members of the Gupta family or executives in Gupta linked companies. This was at a time when the Gupta-linked company Tegeta was in the process of negotiating the purchase of Optimum Coal Holdings and its Optimum Coal Mine, which supplies Eskom with coal.
Revelations included that Molefe had been taking and making calls to Gupta family members and Gupta company executives at this pivotal time – including 44 calls to Ajay Gupta, while Molefe was placed in the Saxonwold area 19 times through cellular phone records.
After his tearful resignation late last year, Molefe has been cooling his heels as a member of parliament. But on Friday morning Parliament announced Molefe’s resignation, effective from Sunday.
Other political parties have also weighed in, with the Inkatha Freedom Party calling the development an example of “janus-faced duplicity”.
Narend Singh, the IFP spokesperson on public enterprises, said Molefe’s past had left him compromised and Brown herself had called for a commission of inquiry into the parastal’s dubious relations Tegeta, which had not complied with any of Eskom’s supply chain management principles.
Ahead of the recent cabinet reshuffle, Molefe was widely believed to have been in line for the post of finance minister.
But when president Jacob Zuma finally did drop the axe, it was Malusi Gigaba who was handed the post.
At the time of his resignation, Molefe denied any wrongdoing and said he was leaving in the interests of corporate governance.
Neither Qoma, nor Colin Cruywagen, Brown’s spokesperson were immediately available for comment.