PRETORIA, January 25 – The High Court in Pretoria on Thursday, ruled that embattled former Eskom chief executive officer (CEO) Brian Molefe was not entitled to any pension benefits from the state-owned power utility, and must pay back the money he has since received.
“We came to the conclusion that the reinstatement of Mr Molefe as Group Chief Executive Officer at Eskom is at variance with the principle of legality and is invalid and false — to be set aside,” Judge Elias Matojane read out the judgement on behalf of a full bench of high court judges.
“We also found that Mr Molefe was never entitled to receive any pension benefits from the Eskom pension fund, and any payments made in lieu of such benefits were patently unlawful.”
The court ruled that Molefe must pay back every cent advanced to him from the pension fund, in the next 10 days.
Molefe has already received R11 million from the R30 million pension payout.
The matter was brought by South Africa’s official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, and trade union Solidarity, seeking an order declaring Molefe’s R30-million pension payout unlawful and for it to be set aside.
Molefe left Eskom under a dark cloud after being implicated in the then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s damning State of Capture report.
South African trade union Solidarity said the former chief executive officer of Eskom, Brian Molefe’s fate will be determined on Thursday when the Pretoria High Court are expected to announce its ruling on the R30 million he had received as a pension fund.
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.
– African News Agency (ANA)