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Court bid to block Molefe begins as parties protest outside Eskom

May 15 2017 10:02
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance (DA) said its attorney has lodged court papers to stop the reappointment of Brian Molefe as Eskom CEO, as two political parties protested outside the power utility in the morning.

Speaking to media outside Eskom’s Megawatt Park in Johannesburg on Monday, DA public enterprises spokesperson Natasha Mazzone said the DA’s attorney lodged papers in the North Gauteng High Court on Monday to have Molefe’s reappointment “stopped with immediate effect”.

“We feel South Africans deserve better than having someone who is shrouded in controversy being at the helm of such an important state-owned entity,” eNCA quoted her as saying.

Asked if the protesters – which included DA and Cope members – would be able block Molefe getting in to work as planned, she said: “No, he’s going to get past us. I think you can see the police presence that is here today. I think it shows us that Mr Molefe realises South Africans are unhappy.”

The African National Congress called Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown to a meeting to either reverse the decision to reappoint Molefe or remove the entire Eskom board, Sunday Times reported.

This followed her press briefing on Friday, where she defended the Eskom board’s decision to rescind Molefe’s controversial R30m pension payout and reappoint him to his old post.

Molefe, who resigned as a Member of Parliament after three months on Sunday, originally said he was stepping down from Eskom in November 2016 in the interest of good governance. This followed the public protector's State of Capture report, which cited his involvement with the Guptas and their Optimum coal mine contract with Eskom.

'Molefe did not retire - he resigned'

“The concept that he retired is completely untrue,” said Mazzone. “We all know he resigned. We saw his statement and in his statement he said he was stepping down in the interest of good governance. You cannot come back in the interest of good governance. We think he should stick by his original statement.”

The DA is not the only group seeking legal action against Molefe’s return.

Economic Freedom Fighters head Julius Malema said the party is consulting its lawyers and will “approach the courts to stop this madness”.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse sent Brown a letter on Friday, demanding that she reverse Eskom’s decision or face legal action.

Corruption Watch is also considering legal action. “The sort of ethical challenges displayed by Molefe, (Eskom chairperson Ben) Ngubane and the Eskom board disqualify them from public life and we will do all within our power to ensure that they are driven out of Eskom and all other public institutions,” said Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis.

Save South Africa briefed its legal advisers on steps that can be taken to keep Molefe out of Eskom, and will work with others to mobilise protests to show the nation’s outrage, it said.

EE Publishers MD Chris Yelland tweeted on Friday that Eskom’s legal department said a number of legal actions were in progress to prevent Molefe from returning to work at Eskom on Monday.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe could not respond to media queries on Monday as he was in a meeting.

Videos from Megawatt Park on Monday:

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