Former Eskom boss Brian Molefe to lead the organisation again. Picture: Timothy Bernard/ANA Pictures
Johannesburg – Embattled former African National Congress MP Brian Molefe will make his first public appearance as the reinstated Eskom chief executive when he addresses the opening session at the African Utility Week conference and expo in Cape Town next week on Tuesday.

The 17th annual African Utility Week is a flagship energy event that will gather over 7000 decision-makers from more than 80 countries to source the latest solutions and meet over 300 suppliers.

The conference programme will address the latest problems, developments, and opportunities in the power and water sectors, ranging from generation to transmission and distribution, metering, technology, and water.

The conference will also be addressed by Eskom board chairman Ben Ngubane and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. Molefe, who left Eskom under a cloud following the release of the public protector’s report into state capture late last year, resigned on Friday as MP after only three months on the ANC benches.

At Parliament, Molefe earned just over R100,000 a month as an MP whereas he was earning R792‚000 monthly at Eskom, excluding bonuses. Prior to President Jacob Zuma's late-night Cabinet reshuffle in March, Molefe was widely tipped as the country’s next finance minister but the post went to Malusi Gigaba.

The public protector's report raised questions about Molefe's proximity to members of the wealthy, politically connected Gupta family, and that the Eskom leadership had stretched procurement rules to give a multi-million rand coal contract to the Guptas' Tegeta Exploration and Resources company.

In the wake of the public protector's report, Molefe resigned "in the interest of good corporate governance" and to "clear" his name.

About three months later, in February, Molefe was sworn in as an ANC MP. Subsequently, it emerged that Eskom was about to pay Molefe a R30 million pension pay-out after he applied for early retirement, despite the fact that he had resigned.

Brown objected to the proposal and asked for the Eskom board's reasoning in formulating the proposed pension payout, as she could not support it.

The Eskom board said it decided to rescind his application for early retirement because it could not agree with him on "a mutually beneficial pension proposal", and then negotiated for him to return to finish his contract which ends in September 2020.