Minister Brown backs Eskom CEO 'reshuffle'

[caption id="attachment_204093" align="alignright" width="300"] Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown.
Picture: Trevor Samson. © Business Day[/caption]

Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown has said she supports the proposal by Eskom board’s to reinstate Brian Molefe as group chief executive because it presented “a better value proposition for the South African fiscus” - provided it was legal.

“This week the board of Eskom briefed me on the outcome of consultations with former group CEO Brian Molefe following my request that the proposed pension payout [R30-million] to Mr Molefe be re-evaluated‚” Brown said.

“After considering various options‚ the board proposed Molefe return all monies he received from Eskom on his January departure and be reinstated with immediate effect‚” she said.

“In terms of the board’s proposal‚ Molefe agreed to serve out the remainder of his original contract and to reconsider the terms of his contract that resulted in the previous pension arrangement‚ the one I objected to.

“I believe the board’s proposal ultimately represents a significantly better value proposition to the South African fiscus than the previous proposal.

“I informed the board I was satisfied with its re-evaluation process and recognise the merit in its proposal on the proviso of its legality.”

Brown added that the Eskom board had briefed her on the status of the investigation into the acting chief executive‚ Mathsela Koko.

“The appointed law firm has requested more time and the board is of the view extra time should be granted. In the interest of the process‚ the interim CEO has decided to take leave until the investigation is finalised by mid-June. I support that decision‚” Brown said.

By 9m on Thursday Koko was packing up his belongings and heading for the exit‚ Times Live can reveal.

On Friday‚ Eskom announced that beleaguered Molefe‚ who was in the interim sworn in as an ANC MP‚ would be returning as chief executive.

Late last month the Sunday Times exposed how a company of which Koko’s stepdaughter Koketso Choma (26) was a director had raked in R1-billion in contracts from the state utility.

Koko denied knowing his stepdaughter was involved with the company‚ Impulse International.

Koko is reportedly now under investigation for the tenders awarded to the company and‚ as a result‚ he was suspended.

The ANC on Friday joined a chorus of condemnation against Molefe's return.

The ruling party said Molefe was not in a position to return to his post after being named numerous times in the report titled State of Capture by former public protector Thuli Madonsela.

The report had investigated allegations that the Gupta family had used their relationship with President Jacob Zuma to influence government tenders.

"Molefe left Eskom under a cloud following the release of the poublic protector's report into state capture late last year‚" the party said in a statement.

"The decision therefore to reinstate him in his former position without these matters being resolved is tone deaf to the South African public's absolute exasperation and anger at what seems to be government's lacklustre and lackadaisical approach to dealing decisively with corruption — perceived or real."