Ruling expected on Molefe's R30m golden handshake

Johannesburg - Ousted Eskom boss Brian Molefe will hear on Thursday whether his controversial R30m golden handshake passed muster in court. 

The North Gauteng High Court is set to rule on the allegedly illegal payments the former Eskom CEO received in December 2016 after his tearful resignation.

This comes after trade union Solidarity approached the high court on November 29 2017 to declare Molefe's controversial pension award of about R30m, as well as more than R10m already paid out to him, unlawful.

According to Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, Solidarity is searching for justice on the matter and wants an order that obliges Molefe to pay back all pension payouts and benefits granted to him.

“Molefe acted unlawfully and in no way within the framework of Eskom’s pension and provident fund, and that is why it would please us if the court rules on Thursday that Molefe is to be held liable for it in his personal capacity,” Van der Bijl said.

Molefe briefly returned as CEO of Eskom on May 15 after the scandal around his pension emerged, but was removed again two weeks later when Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown ordered the board to reverse his reinstatement. Molefe later challenged this decision when he filed Labour Court papers against the board and Brown.

Political parties and Solidarity then filed a consolidated court application to challenge Eskom’s decision to reappoint Molefe as CEO, as well as the approval of his R30m pension payout. 

Brown also filed explanatory affidavits last year, but did not challenge the relief sought by the applicants. 

In the affidavit Brown said a letter from former Eskom chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane regarding Molefe’s retirement package never reached her.

Molefe and other Eskom executives were also grilled in Parliament at the inquiry into state capture at Eskom about Molefe's pension bonanza.

Daily Maverick’s investigative unit Scorpio revealed that the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund flouted a number of rules to help Molefe secure his pension.

Scorpio obtained leaked emails from the power utility that outlined how pension fund officials were coaxed into dubious approvals relating to Molefe's pension. Scorpio's report raised questions about whether Molefe was even entitled to a pension, because he was not a permanent worker.

Also when Eskom announced its annual results last year, it stated in the notes to its financial statements that the R30m Molefe received as an early retirement benefit would only be refunded to the company pursuant to a court order.

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