Pretoria - Eskom’s former chief executive officer Brian Molefe lost his application for leave to appeal against the damning judgment that he had resigned from the power utility and was thus not entitled to his “golden handshake”.
The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, in January this year ordered that Molefe had to pay back the about R11-million he had already received of the R30-million handshake.
Molefe on Tuesday turned to court in a bid to obtain leave to appeal the judgment before the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.
But it took judges Hans Fabricius and Elias Matojane about two minutes after arguments were concluded to turn down the application. Judge Matojane simply said that after they carefully considered all the arguments, they came to the conclusion that another court would not come to a different finding.
Molefe was not at court on Tuesday as he apparently had family responsibilities, but his lawyer, Barry Farber, said they will consider the judgement before they will decide whether to petition the SCA for leave to appeal. “I must still get instructions in this regard from my client,” he said.
Farber, however, said he was somewhat shocked by the outcome. Before the start of court proceedings, he told IOL that he believed Molefe had a good chance of being granted leave to appeal.
Molefe’s advocate, Arnold Subel, mainly argued that the court made a mistake when it found that Molefe had voluntarily resigned from Eskom in November 2016. He said Molefe took early retirement and he was thus entitled to certain pension payouts as part of his retirement package.
Subel said the finding that Molefe had resigned should have been set aside, which would in effect mean that he had never left Eskom.
This prompted Judge Fabricius to question where Molefe was employed at this stage. Subel said: “I have no idea.” Judge Fabricius said he asked this because he ( Subel ) argued that Molefe should be restored in his position as CEO at Eskom.
Subel said he meant this in a legal sense.
Judge Fabricius also questioned Molefe’s brief stint as a parliamentarian shortly after he left Eskom. He said if Molefe’s argument is that he actually never left Eskom, how could he then be employed as an MP at the same time.
“You say in your argument he was still a member of Eskom while sworn into parliament. I have difficulty with that logic,” the judge said.
Advocate Anton Katz SC, acting for Solidarity, said this argument simply did not make sense. “If it was true that he never left Eskom, it would mean that during the time that he was an MP, his salary and the votes he received during his short stint were unlawful….So what he did in Parliament for those few months were unlawful,” Katz said.
The court in turning down the leave to appeal did not comment on these issues.