Pretoria - Embattled former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe faces a new challenge after the North Gauteng High Court rejected his application to appeal a decision forcing him to pay back part of his R30m pension windfall.
Molefe wanted a higher court to review his case, after the same court ruled in January that he was not entitled to keep the money he controversially received from the power utility after working only 18 months as chief executive.
His lawyer Barry Farber was reluctant to reveal the way forward for his client following the court decision. He said that pressure on the former executive was now “bigger than before”.
“We are going to regroup and try to find our next step forward. I'm disappointed. I personally believed there was a prospect of success,” said Farber.
"The dispute still remains on what is to be paid back," he said.
Labour Union Solidarity, which brought the case together with the Democratic Alliance, welcomed the decision and vowed to keep pressuring Molefe to return the money.
In January, the North Gauteng High Court gave Molefe 10 days to return about R11m of the R30m he had received from Eskom.
“Molefe must now pay back the money,” said Solidarity chief Dirk Hermann after the court judgment, adding that the union would still pursue separate criminal charges against the him.
"He deliberately made misrepresentations to enrich himself at the expense of Eskom and taxpayers.
"He took from everyone in South Africa. Taxpayers are fed-up with tax plunderers, and unfortunately this definition fits Mr Molefe," said Hermann.
In his argument, Molefe had maintained that he was entitled to the money, and that the court erred in finding that that he resigned from Eskom and that his departure was unrelated to the early retirement package.
"We are delighted that the appeal application has been turned down, we expected nothing better,” said DA chairperson James Selfe on Tuesday following the court decision.
“His case was based on a flimsy argument by Molefe, the idea that he never left Eskom is preposterous,” he added.
Selfe said the DA would wait and see if Molefe would try to petition the Supreme Court to consider his case.
“Otherwise the previous judgement to pay back the money within 10 days still stands,” he said.* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER