Eskom CEO Brian Molefe skipped the opening of African Utility Week on Tuesday amid growing opposition to his reappointment.
Molefe and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Browne‚ who were both expected to address delegates at Cape Town International Convention Centre‚ were no-shows just a day after Molefe returned to his post as boss of the state-owned energy producer under a cloud of controversy.
Calls objecting to Molefe’s reappointment to the post he vacated in November grew even louder on Tuesday‚ when the SACP planned to protest against the decision with a demonstration outside the convention centre before Molefe’s expected arrival.
They followed the ANC and the DA‚ who condemned Molefe’s re-appointment and called for the decision to be reversed.
Molefe resigned after being linked to the Gupta family in the State Capture report by then public protector Thuli Madonsela.
On Monday the DA filed an urgent court application for Molefe’s reappointment to be overturned and for him to be blocked from performing his duties as CEO.
And Brown was summoned to Luthuli House after the ANC called on her to reverse Molefe’s reappointment or dissolve the Eskom board.
SACP Western Cape first deputy provincial secretary Barry Mitchell said the decision to reappoint Molefe was “unnecessary” and was typical of “high level” of corruption affecting parastatals.
“We cannot see how the reappointment of Mr Molefe will benefit the country or Eskom at all‚” said Mitchell.
“As a party we are taking a pro-active stance by picketing outside the CTICC this morning calling for his removal from Eskom and reversal of that decision.”
Earlier on Tuesday a report by the amaBunghane Centre for Investigative Journalism reported that Molefe and Eskom board chairman Ben Ngubane helped the Gupta family secure the Optimum coal mine from Glencore in 2015.
Former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramathlodi said he resisted pressure from Molefe and Ngubane to suspend Glencore’s mining licences‚ and was later fired because of this.
Ngubane and deputy public enterprise minister Dikobe Ben Martins welcomed delegate at the opening of the three-day African Utility Week conference‚ where Ngubane apologised for Molefe’s absence.
“The CEO unfortunately has other urgent business to attend to‚” he said.