Johannesburg - The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has called for the sacking of the Eskom board for taking a decision to reinstate Brian Molefe as its chief executive from Monday.
In a statement Saftu "demands that the decision to reinstate Molefe must be immediately reversed and that the entire Eskom board be dismissed and that a new democratically accountable board be appointed with representatives from the Eskom workers and communities".
News broke on Friday morning that Molefe, who had since his resignation from Eskom become an ANC Member of Parliament, would be returning to the power utility. He has already resigned his MP position ahead of his return to Eskom.
This after its board decided to rescind his application for early retirement because it could not agree with him on “a mutually beneficial pension proposal”. Last month, Brown objected to Eskom’s R30 million pension payout to Molefe.
Molefe left Eskom under a cloud following the release of the Public Protector’s report into state capture late last year. The report raised questions about his proximity to members of the Gupta family whose company, Tegeta Exploration and Resources, is a supplier of coal to Eskom.
Molefe then resigned “in the interest of good corporate governance”. Saftu said it was "outrageous" that someone facing serious allegations in the report of the former Public Protector can continue to head a vital national enterprise.
"The excuse that the Eskom board has given - that because Energy Minister Lynne Brown refused to allow the board to pay Molefe a R30 million pension, it could not then find a mutually acceptable pension arrangement, and that this therefore nullified his early retirement application - is utterly preposterous," Saftu said.
"The Minister rightly argued that there was no justification for such a payout since he had only been employed at Eskom for 18 months, and he had not retired but resigned."
Saftu added that it was particularly alarming that Eskom chairperson, Ben Ngubane, said Molefe's skills set would assist the power utility as none of its applications for coal purchases had been approved by the Treasury.
"Does this mean that he hopes Molefe will be able to persuade the new Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, to hand over the money for these purchases, which has predecessor did not approve?"
The federation said Molefe's reinstatement confirmed assertions by general secretary of the National Union of Metal Workers Union (Numsa), Irvin Jim, that the problem of cronyism and corruption is even worse.
African News Agency