CAPE TOWN - The High Court in Pretoria on Thursday ordered Brian Molefe to pay back the R11-million he had received as part of his pension payout from Eskom.
The court ruled that the allegations against Molefe contained in the then public protector’s State of Capture report were the reasons for his resignation.
The court declared that the allegations were highly relevant to Molefe’s suitability for reinstatement and were a dead weight that he must carry until he is cleared.
The court unanimously found that Molefe resigned, his declaration that he did not resign was not true, he was never entitled to pension money. The money he had already received with regards to pension must be paid back in 10 days, and the claim of early retirement that he publicly made was false and deceitful.
eNCA's Karyn Maughan said, "The court has made it very very clear that this conjecture that we have from a number of people, including President Jacob Zuma himself in his State Capture review, that the public protector’s report were simple observation, and that there is no serious damning finding against him, has been completely undermined by this judgment. It is going to send seismic weight throughout the landscape as it goes ahead.
"The order granted by the court was that the decision taken by the board of Eskom in November 2016 to accept Mr Molefe's early retirement is reviewed and set aside.
"The decision made by the minister to reinstate Molefe at Eskom is set aside.
"It is declared that any payment received by Molefe under any pension payment by Eskom is set aside and Mr Molefe is ordered to pay such amount within 10 days after this order .
"In addition to the amount that he has to pay back, he has to pay in the region of R2-million for legal costs. He also faces a very real action of criminal prosecution as well."
The court was ruling on the R30-million he had been allocated from Eskom's pension fund, a portion of which he had already received.
The amount was paid out to Molefe in late 2016 when he left the power utility after the then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela implicated him in suspicious dealings between Eskom and the politically-connected Gupta family.
On Wednesday, Solidarity said that it had approached the High Court on November 29, 2017, to declare as unlawful the controversial pension award of around R30-million granted to him and the sum of more than R10-million already paid out to Molefe.
Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, said the trade union wanted to see justice prevail and that Molefe pay back all pension payout made to him and benefits granted to him.
“Molefe acted unlawfully and in no way within the framework of Eskom’s pension and provident fund, and that is why it would please us if the court rules tomorrow that Molefe is to be held liable for it in his personal capacity,” Van der Bijl said.
Molefe had opposed the application, insisted that he never resigned and that hat if his pension was revoked, he should be reinstated as Eskom CEO.
African News Agency