Brian Molefe. Picture: ALON SKUY
Brian Molefe. Picture: ALON SKUY

The return of Brian Molefe to public life on the back benches of parliament has once more caused speculation about the future of finance minister Pravin Gordhan. It is now widely held that President Jacob Zuma regards Molefe as the man to remove the Gordhan thorn from his side.

Since the day he was forced to return Gordhan to the ministry to replace David Des van Rooyen, Zuma has regretted his decision. Instead of getting with the programme, Gordhan had the cheek to set about cleaning house in state-owned enterprises and roundly condemned cronyism.

Zuma’s supporters within the ANC Youth League have gone so far as to call him an “impimpi” — the apartheid era word for security police spy.

Let’s go back to November last year when Molefe stepped down as Eskom boss.

Outgoing public protector Thuli Madonsela, had just issued her “State of Capture” report, which found that he had spent a long time in the vicinity of the Gupta family’s Saxonwold compound around about the time Eskom coal contracts were given to their subsidiaries.

Molefe resigned “voluntarily” and he was lauded for falling on his sword, but he immediately clarified that he accepted no guilt, setting the scene for his return.

In an interview with The Star, Molefe complained that he had never been afforded a chance to give his side of the story. This is not exactly true. He had, in his lengthy press conference on the Madonsela report, explained that he might have been at a shebeen in Saxonwold and not at the Gupta compound.

His exact words were: “There’s a shebeen there, two streets away from the Guptas. I will not admit or deny that I’ve gone to the shebeen.”

Now expect his march to higher office to commence with a committee role and then a ministry. After a fortifying drink at the shebeen, of course.

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