So, Brian Molefe’s brief spell as a member of parliament ends with his resignation from the House of Assembly tomorrow, a departure less tearful in many eyes than his tearful exit as his premature departure as chief executive of Eskom in November.
We can only presume that there were some frantic sotto voce discussions among the regulars at the Saxonwold shebeen, glasses of Johnny Blue close to their elbows, about where Molefe – strongly tipped as a Cabinet member, but ignored in President Jacob Zuma’s less-than-popular reshuffle of ministers – about the future.
Molefe heads back to his former job with the power utility next week after the board rescinded his application for early retirement.
It is no secret that the Eskom board met after Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown objected to Eskom’s R30 million pension payout for Molefe, which she only discovered through the media on April 16 – a payout the minister described as “very irregular”.
As an aside, it is worth noting that it would take nearly three decades of parliamentary service to earn the same amount as the payout proposed for him by Eskom.
Molefe requested early retirement following then public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report, with some of the queries raised then still hanging heavy over his head.
Chief among these is Eskom’s determined push to follow a nuclear option that would cost this country R1 trillion. There is also the unresolved matter of Eskom’s ties to the lucrative coal supply contracts with the Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers report commissioned by the utility found Tegeta was not put through the power utility’s supplier development programme to ensure passing muster to do business with the state-owned entity.
Molefe has a tough road ahead before he draws his pension.