Brian Molefe was to start his new role as Eskom Chief Executive on Monday. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/Independent Media
Cape Town – Journalists and delegates gathered at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Tuesday were disappointed, if not terribly surprised, at the last minute by news that Brian Molefe, the newly returned Eskom chief executive, would not be opening the event as promised.

Molefe’s appearance at the 17th annual African Utility Week conference and expo was to be one of his first public appearances since the Eskom board announced late last week that he was returning to his job as chief executive.

Molefe resigned from Eskom under a cloud last year in November after he was fingered in the public protector’s state of capture report over an alleged improper relationship with the Guptas, who were at the time angling for business with the power utility.

His reappointment at the helm of the state-owned utility has caused widespread public outrage and is the subject of a court application by the Democratic Alliance (DA) filed on Monday. The DA is requesting an interdict to prevent Molefe from working as the power utility’s boss.

Former Mining Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi this week made damning new allegations that Molefe and Eskom board chair Ben Ngubane put pressure on him to push Glencore out of business to help the Guptas grab a mine owned by the resources giant. Eskom has denied the allegations.

The Africa Utility Week, which runs from Tuesday to Thursday May 16-18, a gathering of 7,000 decision-makers from more than 80 countries to discuss the latest problems and solutions.

All eyes will likely now turn to “an exciting announcement” by Eskom’s chief nuclear officer, Dave Nicholls, which is expected on Thursday May 18.