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'Where do Eskom mistakes leave me?' asks Molefe

FILE PHOTO: Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has appeared before the Eskom inquiry in regards to his pension payout.
FILE PHOTO: Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has appeared before the Eskom inquiry in regards to his pension payout.
Image: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Parliament's inquiry into Eskom was seized with two main questions as former CEO Brian Molefe appeared before the committee: was Molefe a permanent employee and did he resign or take early retirement?

Molefe was seconded from Transnet to Eskom in April 2015. In October‚ he was officially appointed as CEO.

Molefe says that in October he received letters from both the Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown and the chairman of the Eskom board‚ Ben Ngubane‚ confirming his appointment. Neither contained any limitation on the period of employment. Also in October‚ he signed his executive employment contract‚ which states that it would continue for an indefinite period.

He was signed up to the Eskom pension fund.

Earlier in the day‚ former Eskom board member Venete Klein testified that the contract had erroneously stated that it was fixed term‚ but did not contain a time-frame.

In November‚ Brown wrote to Ngubane informing him of a cabinet decision to employ parastatal executives on five-year contracts. On 9 November‚ Ngubane advised Molefe of this and later wrote to the minister setting out what would happen at the end of that contract: he would be allowed to retire as if he were 63 years old‚ and Eskom would cover the pension fund penalties associated with this.

This contract is at the centre of the controversy over Molefe's pension. The Eskom pension fund says he should never have been on their fund in the first place as the rules do not allow for contract workers.

However‚ Molefe disputed reports that he had received a R30 million pension when he decided to take early retirement. While this was the total amount due to him‚ he said he had received only around R7 million of this - R4.3 million of which was his Transnet pension‚ which he had transferred.

The money and its return are now the subject of court processes after Molefe was made to revoke his retirement‚ returned to Eskom and was then removed again.

But Molefe and evidence leader Ntuthuzelo Vanara seemed to get stuck on whether he had resigned or retired the first time around.

Molefe insists he wrote to the board requesting early retirement. But Vanara said Eskom's official statement indicated that he had stepped down.

"You can say you're getting married but that doesn't mean that will happen. Until you have appeared in front of the marriage officer‚ it has not happened. So‚ I'm not sure how those documents (the Eskom statement) which are not official documents could constitute a resignation letter‚" Molefe said.

"This whole thing was a mistake‚ therefore I asked‚ where do these mistakes leave me?" he said.

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