NUMSA condemns Eskom’s attempts to ‘dry clean’ former CEO Brian Molefe

The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) condemns in the strongest terms the decision by Eskom to re-hire Brian Molefe to the position of CEO. Molefe resigned voluntarily following allegations of State Capture by the Public Protector.
At the time of his resignation he stated that it was in the ‘interests of good governance’ that he step down, after the public protector raised questions about whether the Gupta family benefitted through the Tegeta Coal deal as a result of the cozy relationship they allegedly had with him.
Since his voluntary resignation last year, the cloud of corruption over his head has not been cleared. We view his reinstatement as an attempt by the power utility to ‘dry clean’ Molefe of the stench of corruption, which still lingers, following the damning allegations in the State of Capture report.
NUMSA is dismayed by the decision of the Public Enterprises Minister
NUMSA is dismayed that the minister of public enterprises Lynne Brown has chosen to accept this dubious decision by the board of Eskom. The minister claims that the fact that Molefe has not been found guilty of corruption means that it is acceptable for him to be re-instated.
We wish to remind the minister that the constitutional court affirmed the powers of the Public Protector in the 2016 Nkandla judgement. The constitutional court also confirmed that the remedial action recommended by the public protector is legally binding. It is true that Molefe is innocent until proven guilty, but the recommendations in the State of Capture report are clear.
They called for an independent inquiry into the allegations against him. Molefe resigned voluntarily and at that time, he said he wanted to clear his name. Nothing has changed since his resignation. Molefe should not occupy that post, until the allegations against him have been decisively dealt with and he has been cleared of any wrong doing.
The constitutional court was clear that the only way to have the public protectors findings set aside was through a successful review application in court – that has not happened. Therefore the minister cannot advance an iota of morality or ethics whilst this situation persists. His presence at Eskom will have a very negative impact and will create the impression that Eskom is not interested in good clean governance.
How can the board justify a pay out of R30 million rand to Molefe?
NUMSA is questioning how the board could justify a pay out of R30 million rand to Molefe. Brian Dames, the former CEO of Eskom received a R22 million rand payout and he had been at the institution for over 20 years. Molefe has only been there for 21 months and yet his payout is larger than Dames’, how is this justifiable? It seems that this is an example of looting which is taking place at the power utility. Those who are politically connected are rewarded.
Eskom has also not resolved the scandal involving the current acting Eskom CEO, Matshela Koko, who shamelessly denies any knowledge of his step-daughters relations with Impulse International. Impulse International has netted billions of rand in contracts with Eskom in divisions which were headed by Koko.
The power utility has also been implicated in allegations that some of its executives benefitted from the load shedding crisis. A report by auditing firm Deloitte as well as a report by Denton’s raises concerns that executives paid up to 200% more than necessary for coal during that period. Some Eskom executives got rich whilst the economy suffered as a result of load shedding.
Eskom is implementing double standards in the workplace
Eskom is implementing double standards in the workplace. When our members resign from Eskom on the spur of the moment because they are being bullied by the Employer, they do not get the benefit of negotiated packages and they are certainly not allowed to change their minds and return to the job. Eskom is being hypocritical by allowing this situation to unfold.
This latest decision to re-instate Molefe is just one of the many irrational decisions involving Eskom. Against this backdrop, of wasteful expenditure and corruption, the power utility intends to go ahead with its proposal to shut down 5 power stations in Mpumalanga.
This senseless decision which is driven by the ANC government will render Mpumalanga a ‘ghost province’ because forty thousand workers and their families will have no means of supporting themselves. The plant closures will have a detrimental impact on the local economy of the area. This decision will have a disastrous impact on the majority of people who are working class and poor. It will exacerbate the triple crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
On the ANC’s response to Molefe
It is quite clear that within the governing party the center does not hold. How can the ANC issue a statement that condemns the re-hiring of Molefe and the minister who is supposed to be an ANC deployee does not defend it? This is a reflection of the perpetual crisis that the governing is in. It is in a permanent political crisis and it is demonstrating once again, that it is incapable of finding solutions for the challenges facing the country.
NUMSA calls for an independent investigation into Eskom
NUMSA is calling for an independent investigation into the process which led to Molefe’s reinstatement. Eskom is a public utility and such shenanigans should not be allowed to persist. We believe that this decision smells of cronyism and corruption and an urgent enquiry must take place to look into the matter. Eskom is a public entity and therefore the Public Protector is best placed to deal with this matter. We are also considering whether we should take legal action on this issue.
We want to know whether proper processes and procedures were followed to justify this situation.
Furthermore as NUMSA we believe the entire Eskom board must be removed. The reason that State Owned Enterprises are in a crisis is that the boards no longer serve the interests of the public a whole. The boards are often used as part of the political machinery to dispense patronage.
When you look at the scandals which have rocked the power utility, and the examples of wasteful expenditure, it is clear that the public can not trust the Eskom board to act in their interest. NUMSA is calling for the boards of all SOE’s to be reconstituted.
They should be made up of representatives from labour, civil society and business. The board should put the interests and the needs of Workers and the poor first. It must champion localization in order to build the economy. By transforming the board in this way, we can root out corruption in all SOE’s and ensure that they act in the interest of the public.
Issued by Irvin Jim
NUMSA General Secretary
For interviews please contact
Phakamile Hlubi
Acting NUMSA Spokesperson
083 376 7725