The life and times of Brian Molefe, MP

2017-05-13 07:16
Brian Molefe, attending a meeting of the portfolio committee on international relations and cooperation for the first time in March. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Brian Molefe, attending a meeting of the portfolio committee on international relations and cooperation for the first time in March. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Opposition parties prepared to go to court after Molefe reappointed as Eskom CEO

2017-05-12 15:43

Opposition parties say they will seek legal action against MP Brian Molefe, after he was reappointed as Eskom CEO. Watch. WATCH

Cape Town - While the Twittersphere and newsrooms were aflutter on Friday morning with the news that Brian Molefe had been reinstated as Eskom's CEO and that he had tendered his resignation as ANC MP, parliament's Old Assembly wing where the ANC MPs offices are situated, was eerily quiet after a busy week. Hardly a MP was in sight, with just a few staffers in their offices.

The word in these silent corridors was that Molefe was spotted on an early morning flight to Johannesburg and was apparently in good spirits. 

A quiet parliament is a fitting end, perhaps, to his three-month term as MP, because he hardly featured in the tumult that characterises events of the fifth parliament.

On February 17, parliament took the unusual step to announce that Molefe would join the ranks of its "honourable members". The connections between him and the Guptas that former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela pointed out in her report on state capture and his less than graceful exit from Eskom was still fresh in the memory, leading DA chief whip John Steenhuisen to declare, "He is going to be a gift to the opposition."

Round about this time it also emerged that Dr Makhosi Khoza, an ANC MP who earned the reputation that she neither suffers fools nor corruption, would be removed from the finance committee. This was done to make room for Molefe, it was widely speculated at the time, with his presence in this committee to serve as a launching pad to take over the reins at treasury after Pravin Gordhan's inevitable axing.

On February 23 he was sworn in as a MP. He took his oath in the office of deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, City Press reported. Spotted leaving his first ANC caucus meeting the same day, he did not want to say a word. 

That afternoon he attended his first sitting in the house. As is the custom, speaker Baleka Mbete introduced the new honourable member.

"Where is that corrupt bastard?" he was greeted by the EFF's Sipho Mbatha.
"We will not be abused by a Gupta," another MP shouted off mic.

Under the radar

Cope MP Deirdre Carter was also less than impressed.

"Speaker I just want to know if true North has changed in this house. Because the immorality compass is pointing directly at honourable Molefe right now," she said.
Molefe sat quietly facing the opposition MPs exasperation.

At first it seemed as if Steenhuisen's prophecy would be correct. But in the end it didn't come true. Molefe flew under the radar.  If he ever addressed the house, which surely would have created a furore from the EFF benches, and mock crying gestures from the DA benches, it must have happened when most members of the parliamentary press gallery weren't present.

The website People's Assembly also shows no plenary appearances for him. 

The theory that he would be deployed to the high profile finance committee also proved to be false. He ended up in the portfolio committees of economic development and of international relations and co-operation.

On March 7 at his first committee meeting as a MP, at economic development, Molefe professed his love of socialism, Rapport reported. 

The next day Molefe reported for duty at the international relations committee. He didn’t say much while the committee was discussing the court case that the government lost after deciding to withdraw from the International Criminal Court without Parliament’s input on the matter. 

“We have noted that the court ruled in favour of the DA in this matter.
“The executive welcomed it [the verdict] and is already working to comply,” said Molefe towards the end of the meeting.

Keys to treasury

He echoed other members of the committee, who said that the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Minister of Justice Michael Masutha should address the committee.

And when President Jacob Zuma's late night cabinet guillotine finally fell on Gordhan, it wasn't Molefe who received the keys to the treasury, but Malusi Gigaba.

Hence Molefe had to sit in the ANC's backbenches yet again when parliament had its first sitting since the recess on Wednesday, with the very same Gigaba and other ministers from the finance cluster due to answer questions. He sat still, mostly expressionless. He stared at opposition members who asked questions about Eskom's controversial Tageta deal, his face not giving away what he was thinking, and turned his head in the direction of the minister of public enterprises Lynne Brown when she answered.  

An hour into the sitting, before Gigaba got to answer his first question as finance minister, Molefe couldn't be spotted on his usual seat, or anywhere else in the chamber, from the press gallery. 

On Thursday he looked decidedly more chipper than he ever looked in parliament and towards the end of the sitting, he walked to some of the other ANC MPs for friendly chats and handshakes. 

Read more on:    anc  |  eskom  |  brian molefe  |  parliament

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