Molefe loses court bid to appeal pay back pension ruling

Pretoria - The North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday dismissed an application by former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe for leave to appeal a ruling that he pay back the part of his pension payout he already received.

Judge Elias Matojane said based on the submission presented to the court "we are of the view that there is no prospect that another court would come to a different conclusion... therefore the leave to appeal is refused."

Molefe brought the application to appeal a January judgment that ordered him to pay back part of the pension he received from Eskom. The court then gave Molefe 10 days to pay back about R11m of the R30m he had received from the power utility.

The money was paid after Molefe's resignation in November 2016, following the Public Protector's damning state capture report which implicated him in irregular conduct.

He had been in his position since September 2015, but news of the massive pension payout only emerged after his reappointment in May 2017.

Trade union Solidarity had approached the high court last year to declare Molefe's controversial pension unlawful.

The head of Labour Law Services at Solidarity, Anton van der Bijl, said the union would oppose the application. 

“[Tuesday] is merely Molefe’s attempt to postpone the inevitable. However, we believe that the judge will not delay justice by granting the appeal,” said Van der Bijl.

Molefe has maintained that he was entitled to the money, as he had not resigned from the troubled power utility but had taken an early retirement.

At a previous hearing, Molefe stated that the court erred in ruling that he had resigned, and that Eskom admitted under oath that his departure from the power utility was "pursuant and linked to the early retirement agreement concluded with Eskom".

Molefe's second appointed was rescinded by the Eskom board after the entity, and former minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown, came under fire from opposition parties and lawmakers in parliament.

Eskom executive support manager Anton Minnaar had attempted to justify Molefe’s pension windfall, telling Parliament’s inquiry into state capture that the former executive had helped defeat load shedding.

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