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Johannesburg - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has characterised as "illegal" and "corrupt" the decision to reinstate Brian Molefe as Eskom chief executive. "The EFF condemns the reappointment of Brian Molefe as Eskom CEO as an illegal, corrupt move that is solely based on advancing the personal interests of Molefe as a Gupta stooge," the party said in a statement. 

"It cannot be that he can simply return to his former job without any process. Only in a banana republic can a person resign from a State-Owned Enterprise as CEO based on strong allegations against them, then become a public representative, and when they are not appointed to cabinet, then returns to his CEO job." 

News broke on Friday morning that Molefe, who was appointed as an African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament, would be returning to the power utility on Monday 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, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown objected to Eskom's R30 million pension payout to Molefe after he applied for an early retirement. Molefe resigned from Eskom under a cloud following the release of the Public Protector's report into state capture late last year which raised questions about his proximity to members of the Gupta family whose company, Tegeta Exploration and Resources, is a supplier of coal to Eskom.

The EFF said a resignation meant the position should be subjected to a normal process of advertisements, shortlisting and interviews. "Molefe is a spoilt brat of the Guptas, he clearly is not earning a good salary as an MP and he went to cry to his handlers, who then issued an instruction for his reappointment into Eskom," said the EFF.

"The EFF is consulting with legal counsel and will approach the courts to stop this madness. The EFF will not allow that and will fight to the end to return the rule of law in our country against all manner of kleptocracy in our government."

Meanwhile, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) said Molefe's reappointment was a farce and it too, would challenge it. "As far as we understand, Mr Molefe had resigned as the CEO for the sake of good governance at a time when his leadership was questioned under the cloud of the Public Protector's 'State of Capture' report," OUTA said in a statement. "Eskom cannot simply reinstate Mr Molefe. The position needs to be readvertised and a candidate properly appointed." 

Eskom board spokesperson, Khulani Qoma, defended Eskom's decision to reinstate Molefe, saying that the Public Protector's report was inconclusive. "When he stepped down the board was not in agreement, it grudgingly accepted that he was stepping down. 

The State of Capture [report] is actually not a conclusive document and we will have a conversation if it gets concluded at the point when it does, if it does," Qoma said. "As it stands, we cannot hang him on the basis of the [Public Protector's] report, which is admittedly not conclusive," he added. 

- African News Agency (ANA)