CAPE TOWN – Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown is studying court documents filed by Brian Molefe to challenge his dismissal as CEO of Eskom, her office said on Monday.
“We have received Mr Molefe’s documents. Minister’s Brown’s legal team is studying it,” her spokesman Colin Cruywagen said.
Molefe has approached the labour court after Brown last week instructed the Eskom board to rescind his controversial re-appointment at the helm of the power utility.
Khulani Qoma, the spokesman for the Eskom board, said Molefe served papers both on the minister and the board. The latter had also not yet filed answering submissions to the court.
“Papers were served on us on Saturday.
“Our answering papers are not finalised so I do not know yet what the trajectory of the board’s response is going to be.”
Molefe has agreed not to return to work, in an agreement his lawyers reached with those of the Democratic Alliance, who said they were joining the labour court case to oppose his case there while pursuing a separate, earlier high court challenge of his re-appointment.
“We intend to intervene in the Labour Court proceedings at once,” said James Selfe, the chairman of the party’s federal executive.
“Mr Molefe’s Labour Court case is based on the belief that his reappointment to Eskom on 11 May was a rational decision for the Eskom Board to make, but the DA contends that it was certainly not.”
“The agreement that he would not attempt to return to work pending the outcome of the labour court application would be confirmed on Tuesday in the North Pretoria High Court, which is hearing the opposition’s application for his re-appointment to Eskom last month to be declared invalid.
“An order will be taken in the North Gauteng High Court tomorrow, by agreement, that Mr Molefe will not attend at the Eskom head office, or at any of the Eskom sites, for the purposes of performing any duties, subject to the completion of Mr Molefe’s Labour Court matter, where after our review application will be set down for hearing,” Selfe said.
He confirmed that the DA would proceed with the high court matter regardless of the decision of the labour court.
It means that if Molefe won there, the DA would challenge the ruling and if he were to lose, it would still proceed with the Pretoria application. At issue is also the DA’s demand that the court order that Molefe not be allowed to receive any benefits associated with the position of Eskom CEO.
Molefe left Eskom in November last year after he was implicated in the Public Protector’s report on state capture, and became an ANC MP. But he was parachuted back to Eskom after demanding R30 million in a pension pay-out, claiming that he had not quit the company but applied for early retirement.
Brown said under the circumstances, the better deal for the taxpayer would be for him to return to the post. But she was forced into a climbdown after the ANC rejected both his reinstatement and the explanation for it.
African News Agency