features 24.5.2017 11:37 am

Zweli Mkhize: Molefe debacle is an embarrassment to the ruling party

Zweli Mkhize speaks during a media briefing at Chief Albert Luthuli house in the Johannesburg CBD, 20 May 2014. Picture: Neil McCartney

Zweli Mkhize speaks during a media briefing at Chief Albert Luthuli house in the Johannesburg CBD, 20 May 2014. Picture: Neil McCartney

If Eskom sticks to its story that Molefe was on leave when he became an MP, there is a clear case of perjury to answer to.

ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize made his views known during the Sefako Makgatho memorial lecture in Lebowakgomo, Limpopo, last night.

He told the gathering that Eskom’s reappointment of Molefe as group chief executive because he was on “unpaid leave”, despite having been been sworn in as an MP in the interim, was a “very difficult issue”.

“We [ANC] have expressed our views, and the issue is embarrassing. And we hope that the matter will be dealt with expeditiously because at the end of the day, everything we do is all about services to our people,” he told a gathering amid cheers of approval.

Zweli’s statement was a reiteration of ANC’s strongly worded communique to the media after yesterday’s public enterprise committee hearing into furor. The terse statement was very clear.

The party said Eskom’s submission to the oversight body was “incoherent” and amounted to “perjury”. This is because the constitution does not allow MPs to be sworn in while still employed by the state.

ALSO READ: ANC Gauteng wants Brian Molefe to vacate office as Eskom CEO

It would not be the first time an ANC deployee is accused of trying to double dip by being sworn in as an MP while still holding another public office.

After being sworn as a councillor in Mogale City on August 18, 2017, Peace Mabe contested and lost the position of executive mayor of the council to a DA opponent.

She later returned to work as an MP, in clear contravention of section 47(b) of the constitution. The clause stipulates that one cannot be a member of the National Assembly if they are a permanent delegate to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), member of a provincial legislature or a municipal council.

Mabe was subsequently kicked out of the House by the speaker. DA wrote to the speaker that she returned the salary she had been earning between August and November 2016 while the EFF opened a case of fraud against her.

Mkhize also addressed the state capture issue by telling delegates the party was “here [in power] on the basis of the people of South Africa who voted us into office. And we can never allow any form of capture”.

Meanwhile, acting chairperson of the public enterprises portfolio comittee Zukiswa Rantho told the media this morning the committee wrote to the speaker yesterday afternoon requesting a parliamentary inquiry into Eskom.

She said the inquiry, unlike SABC process that was conducted by an ad-hoc committee, would be carried out by the portfolio committee. She said “unacceptable” responses from necessitated for “other” people to be called in to account for the mess.

“Other board members and members of the executive, companies contracted to do work for Eskom,” she explained. If this request is approved, it means Eskom will still have to face Mondli Gungubele, Pravin Gordhan, John Steenhuisen, Floyd Shivambu and Natasha Mazzone during the hearing.

Molefe brazenly told me he was returning to Eskom, says Scopa chair

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