Johannesburg - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane must investigate reports that former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe's received a R30m golden handshake from the power utility, the DA said on Monday.
"It is outrageous that after only 18 months as CEO at the power utility, Molefe would be awarded such an exuberant bonus. Especially after he resigned out of his own accord, following his naming in the damning State of Capture Report by the former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela," the DA's Natasha Mazzone said.
Mazzone said the DA would be writing to Mkhwebane to request that she probes the R30m pension payout last month, as it "clearly points to yet another case of gross abuse of public funds".
"It is unacceptable that taxpayer money is repeatedly used to benefit underperforming executives who do not deserve it, while vital infrastructure projects are left to gather dust.
"This is clearly not just a pension payout, as Molefe claims. It is a golden handshake and the DA strongly urges Molefe to immediately pay back the R30m bonus."
The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Monday said it had also referred the matter to the Public Protector.
"Resources that are supposed to be unlocked for infrastructure development, youth development, job creation, fighting poverty and inequality are seemingly squandered on an individual facing damning corruption allegations revealed in the Public Protector’s State Capture Report,” Sanco national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said.
The Sunday Times claims to have seen documents mentioning the R30m listed under "separation/severance cost" and "Eskom pension fund" payment, Fin24 reported.
Molefe earned about R8m a year as Eskom boss and was also allocated shares.
Eskom board spokesperson Khulani Qoma told Fin24 that whatever Molefe had received was due to him.
Qoma emphasised that whatever was due to Molefe, was paid at the end of last year, and that he had not received anything this year.
"In terms of governance, we have to follow a stipulated protocol. That is why we cannot make any information known ahead of the release of the annual reports," Qoma told Fin24 on Sunday.
"We maintain that there is nothing untoward in what Molefe has received. Whatever he has received was due to him and appropriate in terms of the Labour Relations Act."
Qoma said that details of whatever any of the Eskom directors had received, including Molefe, would be available in the audited results due out in June.
A spokesperson for Eskom also told Fin24 on Sunday that all executive remuneration had been reported in its integrated report, and as such Molefe’s remuneration would be reported in the 2016/17 integrated report, which will be released later on in the year.
Colin Cruywagen, spokesperson for Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, told Fin24 that he wanted to repeat what the minister had already said, namely that she was not aware of any severance package paid out to Molefe.