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Brian Molefe still 'under a cloud' - experts

Politics
Pretoria - If former Eskom chief executive officer Brian Molefe was sworn in as an MP and then appointed as finance minister, he should expect to be under constant public scrutiny, political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said on Sunday.

“He will be under scrutiny permanently... It will put him in an awkward situation,” Fikeni said.

“He can go to Parliament if he is not found guilty so the legal argument falls away. But the moral, ethical and reputational risk is strong,” Fikeni said.

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Former Eskom chief executive, Brian Molefe. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi

“If there is a cloud and, without clearing it, the person is elevated, that person will be impeded if that cloud is not cleared,” he said.

He made the comments after the Sunday Times reported that Molefe was heading for Parliament after the ANC in North West made a request to Luthuli House for his name to be included on the list of its MPs.

The newspaper also reported that a cabinet reshuffle was on the cards after President Jacob Zuma delivered his state of the nation address, with Molefe tipped to replace incumbent Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Outgoing African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is apparently set to be accommodated in the new-look cabinet.

The report comes as there is an apparent push by some in the Zuma faction to fire Gordhan and bring Dlamini-Zuma into the cabinet ahead of the elective conference in December.

Molefe resigned from the power utility after former public protector Thuli Madonsela released the State Capture report that probed allegations of impropriety involving the Gupta family. He was found to have had 58 telephone interactions with Ajay Gupta between August 2015 and March 2016 and had been at the Guptas' home in Saxonwold on many occasions.

The DA subsequently opened criminal charges against him at the Cape Town police station.

Yesterday, the DA’s public enterprise spokesperson Natasha Mazzone said Molefe was simply not fit to hold office in Parliament.

She said, as an MP, Molefe would have to swear loyalty to the Constitution and put the people of South Africa first, not Zuma or his administration.

“The South African public must be able to have full faith in those who run and manage its SOEs (state-owned entities), but, most importantly, in the MPs who represent them in Parliament.

“Parliament cannot be a dumping ground nor a thank-you playground for the failed and caught-out, but loyal Zuma yes-men,” she said.

Fikeni said said, if the reports about Molefe and the cabinet reshuffle were true, it simply confirmed the factional battles ahead of the elective conference in December would not subside as “one faction is prepared to push its way to replace the other”.

“The cabinet reshuffle will be interpreted factionally. When that happens it hurts the ANC,” he said.

“We should look at the bigger picture. We are likely to have efforts to accommodate her (Dlamini-Zuma) in the cabinet. That will certainly give insight (on some issues),” he said

“It will indicate the balance of forces in the ANC. Are they able to stop him?” Fikeni said in reference to Zuma, who was forced to reverse the appointment of Des van Rooyen when he fired then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.

Political Bureau

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