Brian Molefe’s D-day arrives - but no R10m yet

The Eskom Pension and Provident Fund was expecting more than R10m to enter its account by close of business on Thursday from former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe. This came after three different courts, over the course of two years, determined that he received the money from the pension fund unlawfully and that it had to be repaid. 

Speaking to Fin24 on Thursday afternoon, however, the EPPF confirmed that while Thursday was the deadline, no payment had been received.

The legal battle, which saw union Solidarity go to great lengths to see the funds recovered, has been going on since the beginning of 2017. In its recently released integrated report, Eskom detailed the timeline of the court cases related to the pay-out and said it was closely monitoring the matter.

Solidarity's head of legal services Anton van der Bijl told Fin24 at 4:30pm that it had not yet received the R700 000 it was owed by Molefe due to a high court cost order related to Molefe's legal bid to keep the funds. Molefe's lawyer Sada Raulinga would not comment on whether or not Molefe intended to comply with the court order.

In January last year, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled that the pay-out facilitated by an early retirement agreement with the board was unlawful and should be set aside. Molefe was directed to pay the money back to the EPPF within 10 days. This was deferred, however, when Molefe attempted various appeals against the ruling.

In February 2018, he applied for leave to appeal the high court judgment concerning the pension pay-out, but this application for leave to appeal was dismissed in April last year. He then approached the Supreme Court of Appeal for leave to appeal the North Gauteng High Court decision. The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the petition.

His application to have the dismissal reconsidered was also dismissed in April. Then Molefe appealed to the Constitutional Court, which ordered that the money be paid back earlier this month.

Solidarity head of legal services Anton van der Bijl said the union had been in contact with the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund and that the fund committed to taking steps to ensure the wishes of the court would be honoured.

"We wrote them a letter last week and they have told us that they are busy with taking steps to resolve the matter," said Van der Bijl.

EPPF spokesperson Thato Motlhabi told Fin24 last week that it had directed its attorneys to act in line with the ruling of the North Gauteng High Court.

According to Eskom's 2019 integrated report, the EPPF is a hybrid defined benefit and defined contribution pension fund, registered as a self-administered pension fund in terms of the Pension Funds Act of 1956.

"It is an independent legal entity, governed by a board of trustees, and is the second largest pension fund in the country, with assets well in excess of R100bn. It is not owned by Eskom," the integrated report says.

Approached by Fin24 last week, Molefe did not wish to comment. 

However, Molefe has said in previous discussions with Fin24 of the North Gauteng High Court cost order that Solidarity was making "fantastical claims" and that the Pretoria High Court had "made an error".

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