Parliament - Disgraced former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe on Tuesday, resisted any inference that his departure from the power utility after he was implicated in state capture was a resignation and not, as later contended, early retirement.

Molefe, flanked by his lawyer, responded to questions before a parliamentary inquiry by saying the high court would determine soon whether technically he left on pension or not.

He told evidence leader Ntuthuzelo Vanara that whether his public statement in November 2016, in which he said he was voluntarily stepping down, constituted a resignation or not was not for him to say, nor was it relevant. 

Instead, Vanara should focus on a formal missive to then Eskom chairman Ben Ngubane informing him that he was taking early retirement.

"Mr Vanara, the matter will be determined by the courts next week whether that statement was a resignation," he said.

"I don't understand why those statements that are not official documents constitute a resignation, but then again I am not a lawyer," he said.

Molefe told inquiry he was appointed permanently but later persuaded to accept a fixed term of five years. 

In return for this concession, the company agreed that he was allowed to buy in years of service, and this allowed him to leave Eskom's employ at 50 with full benefits. The resultant pension package of R30 million is being challenged in court.

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In testimony that seemed set to stretch late into the night, Molefe also brushed off statements by Ngubane and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown that suggested he had resigned, and not gone on pension. 

"I don't know whether Dr Ngubane wrote that statement or when he wrote that but the letter I wrote to him was to ask for early retirement. But Mr Ngubane later had an opportunity to make an affidavit in the court proceedings and in that he said I asked for early retirement."

When Vanara put it to him that Brown's understanding also appeared to be that he had quit, Molefe said the minister had changed her account of what  happened three times.

"You will find three versions under oath by the minister," he said.

Molefe insisted on starting his testimony by reading out a 19-page statement.

In it, he cast doubt on assertions in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on state capture that he had had telephone contact dozens of time with Ajay Gupta. Since Madonsela did not publish the phone number or the time and date of the calls, he had no way of checking her claim against his phone records, he said.

Molefe left Eskom days after the publication of the report, which found that Eskom went out of its way to help the Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration to get ownership of the Optimum mine and a lucrative contract to supply coal to the utility until 2018.

He said he had suffered because legally her report did not contain findings, but rather notes or observations which he could not challenge in court in order to clear his name.

"The Public Protector herself says these things must be investigated further so she has not created an opportunity for me to clear my name.

"The frustration I have had and the thing I was really very emotional about was that the Public Protector had written this report that said neither yay nor nay, yet had weight in the public domain."

The inquiry has heard testimony from the Eskom pension fund that Molefe should never have been allowed to become a beneficiary because he was appointed for a fixed term.