Brian Molefe has to pay back the pension money — and Solidarity’s costs
The High Court dismissed his application for leave to appeal a January ruling that he repay R11m in pension payments
Trade union Solidarity has given disgraced former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe until Friday to repay the R11m he received in pension payments.
Molefe’s bid in the High Court in Pretoria to appeal against an earlier judgment was dismissed with costs on Tuesday. The result is that Molefe does not get to keep the money nor does he get his old job back.
Molefe had sought to have the court overturn a January ruling by a full bench that ordered him to repay R11m in pension payments unlawfully paid to him by the Eskom Pension Fund.
In January the court described the R30m "early retirement" deal between Eskom and Molefe as a "deliberate scheme" concocted after he resigned from the utility in 2016. The court ruled that Molefe was not entitled to the benefits as he had been employed by Eskom for only 18 months.
On Tuesday Molefe also sought to challenge the ruling that he had indeed resigned from Eskom and that his reinstatement was unlawful.
Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, told Business Day that Molefe had until Friday 11am to repay the money.
Earlier he said the pressure group was elated by the judgment, as it meant the union’s arguments held water.
He said they still maintained that the payment was not only unlawful, but also one for which Molefe could be criminally prosecuted. Van der Bijl also said Solidarity’s legal costs, which Molefe would have to cover, could be up to R1m.
It was not clear on Tuesday if Molefe would appeal to a higher court against the dismissal.
James Selfe, chairman of the DA’s federal council, said the party welcomed the court ruling. He said Molefe’s insistence that his return to Eskom was not a reinstatement but a continuation of his contract was "completely fictional".
Selfe said that Molefe had "clearly resigned at the end of 2016, a fact which was acknowledged by both [then] public enterprises minister Lynne Brown and the then Eskom board.
"He himself said that he was ‘stepping down’ and then took up a position in Parliament."
Molefe resigned from Eskom after he was implicated in a state-capture probe into by then public protector Thuli Madonsela. After a short stint in Parliament, he was reinstated at Eskom.
"This ruling is not the end of Molefe’s worries, however, as the DA has laid criminal charges against Molefe and it is now time for the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] to step up and prosecute him," Selfe said.