Brian Molefe. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Brian Molefe. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Brian Molefe, it turns out, is a man of many memes. Remember the Saxonwold Shebeen? That mystical place was summoned into existence when Molefe faced accusations that he was spending a lot of time in the Guptas’ home suburb.

He got his marching orders from Eskom, and then served a brief stint on the political frontline in parliament before being demobilised and claiming he had never left Eskom.

Now comes a shot over the bow from City Press, which has reported that Molefe is now Colonel Brian Molefe of the military’s elite accounting division. The job pays R57,000/month. That’s a lot of ammo for a part-time gig.

Illustrating the story proved simple: a picture of Molefe as an "honorary colonel of the SA Irish regiment" at a wreath-laying ceremony was harvested from the files.

Wearing a dark blue beret and an officer’s jacket, finished off with brown patent leather gloves, Molefe is pictured marching with his eyes focused on an imaginary enemy. Perhaps he had Pravin Gordhan in mind?

There was outrage at the news. How did Molefe go straight to colonel when ordinary members of the military are required to rise through the ranks, passing officers’ courses and undergoing military training?

The department of defence’s Siphiwe Dlamini fired back with a lengthy statement to clarify the matter.

"On November 27 2009, the appointment of a number of reserve officers based on a variety of policies was approved. It was during this process, after a number of interviews and staff boards were conducted, that Molefe was identified for the pool of specialists and earmarked to serve as an officer in control of the audit section of the pool of specialists with the rank of colonel."

So Molefe was a colonel in the "pool of specialists" even as he chaired the Public Investment Corp, which was his day job at the time?

More from Dlamini: "It is strange that all the other members who are in the same category as Molefe, and have been called up time and again, have never raised any eyebrows. One wonders why Molefe has been singled out as if he is the only one who has had a call-up, whereas the reserve force has many members who offer the defence force many different skills and are remunerated according to the specific policies and regulations."

The SA National Defence Force Union is not buying it and plans to lay criminal charges.

Meanwhile, back at the Saxonwold Shebeen, they’re saluting the colonel.

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