Cape Town – Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has ordered the Eskom board to rescind the reappointment of Brian Molefe as chief executive on Wednesday.
Brown has asked the Eskom board to provide her with two names from the Eskom executive to become acting chief executive. She will announce who that acting CEO will be within 48 hours’ time, she said.
“We met with the Eskom board today,” she said at a media conference in Cape Town. “Collectively, looking at all the facts… I directed Eskom to rescind the decision to reappoint Mr Molefe.”
This follows the announcement by the inter-ministerial committee that it concluded that Brown should order the board to rescind the reappointment.
“It will be in best interests in government, Eskom and the country that the Minister of Public Enterprises directs the board to rescind the re-appointment of Mr Molefe,” said inter-ministerial committee convenor Justice Minister Michael Masutha on Wednesday in Cape Town.
The decision by the Eskom board to grant Molefe early retirement and then the decision to reappoint him were two mistakes that could have been prevented, the committee found.
"Both mistakes could have corrected administratively and not by the board reinstating Mr Molefe," said Masutha.
The inter-ministerial committee was appointed by President Jacob Zuma in May and consists of Masutha, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi.
It was tasked with investigating Molefe’s return to Eskom, after Brown agreed to the Eskom board’s decision to reinstate him in May.
The four ministers have “had several engagements”, Brown said earlier on Wednesday, adding that it has “reached a consensus” on the matter.
Molefe told media on Tuesday that he was not worried about his fate as chief executive. "Whatever happens, happens," he said.
This follows a decision announced by the African National Congress national executive council on Monday that Molefe should be removed from his role at Eskom.
Molefe agreed to return to Eskom after Brown discovered he had been granted a R30m early pension payout by Eskom, which she refused to condone.
She asked the board to find another solution, and his reinstatement was the result of this. Brown said this was a better value proposition for the South African fiscus.
The decision by the Eskom board to bring him back to solve this crisis has resulted in legal action, as well as inquiries by Parliament and the Department of Public Enterprises into the matter.
The ANC previously labelled Molefe's return to Eskom as "dangerous" and "reckless". Brown was summoned to Luthuli House to meet with the party's top six and ordered to rescind Molefe's return.
The legal bid by the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters to have his reappointment overturned is set to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court on June 6 and 7.