Brian Molefe File picture: David Ritchie/Independent Media
Johannesburg – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has condemned Eskom's decision to re-employ Brian Molefe as CEO. "Molefe resigned voluntarily following allegations of state capture by the public protector," Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said on Saturday.

"At the time of his resignation he stated that it was in the ‘interests of good governance’ that he step down after the public protector raised questions about whether the Gupta family benefitted through the Tegeta coal deal as a result of the cozy relationship they allegedly had with him," Jim said.

Since his voluntary resignation last year the cloud of corruption over his head had not been cleared. Numsa viewed his reinstatement as an attempt by the power utility to "dry clean Molefe of the stench of corruption which still lingered following the damning allegations in the public protector's state of capture report".

"Numsa is dismayed that the Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown has chosen to accept this dubious decision by the board of Eskom. The minister claims that the fact that Molefe has not been found guilty of corruption means that it is acceptable for him to be reinstated," Jim said.

"We wish to remind the minister that the Constitutional Court affirmed the powers of the public protector in the 2016 Nkandla judgment. The Constitutional Court also confirmed that the remedial action recommended by the public protector is legally binding.

"It is true that Molefe is innocent until proven guilty, but the recommendations in the state of capture report are clear. They called for an independent inquiry into the allegations against him. Molefe resigned voluntarily and at that time he said he wanted to clear his name. Nothing has changed since his resignation. Molefe should not occupy that post until the allegations against him have been decisively dealt with and he has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

"The Constitutional Court was clear that the only way to have the public protector's findings set aside was through a successful review application in court – that has not happened. Therefore the minister cannot advance an iota of morality or ethics while this situation persists. His presence at Eskom will have a very negative impact and will create the impression that Eskom is not interested in good clean governance," Jim said.

"Eskom has also not resolved the scandal involving the current acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko who shamelessly denies any knowledge of his step-daughter's relations with Impulse International. Impulse International has netted billions of rand in contracts with Eskom in divisions which were headed by Koko.

"The power utility has also been implicated in allegations that some of its executives benefitted from the load shedding crisis. A report by auditing firm Deloitte as well as a report by Denton’s raises concerns that executives paid up to 200 percent more than necessary for coal during that period. Some Eskom executives got rich while the economy suffered as a result of load shedding. This latest decision to reinstate Molefe is just one of the many irrational decisions involving Eskom."

On the African National Congress’s response to Molefe's reinstatement, Jim said it was quite clear that within the governing party "the center does not hold. How can the ANC issue a statement that condemns the re-hiring of Molefe and the minister who is supposed to be an ANC deployee does not defend it? This is a reflection of the perpetual crisis that the governing is in. It is in a permanent political crisis and it is demonstrating once again that it is incapable of finding solutions for the challenges facing the country".

"Numsa is calling for an independent investigation into the process which led to Molefe’s reinstatement. Eskom is a public utility and such shenanigans should not be allowed to persist. We believe that this decision smells of cronyism and corruption and an urgent inquiry must take place to look into the matter,"Jim said. Numsa was also considering whether it should take legal action on this issue.

"We want to know whether proper processes and procedures were followed to justify this situation," he said.