Brian Molefe will head back to Eskom after his stint as an ANC MP. File picture: David Ritchie/ANA Pictures
Johannesburg – Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) has expressed “grave concern” over the Eskom board’s decision to reinstate Brian Molefe to his former role as chief executive given the circumstances of his resignation and his own expressed desire to clear his name.

BUSA chief executive, Tanya Cohen, said in a statement that the decision by Eskom’s board flies in the face of the Public Protector’s report and is not in line with the expected levels of accountability and ethical leadership, particularly in such a crucial State institution.

“The return of Mr Molefe as CEO of Eskom is inopportune, indefensible and undermines government’s messages around promoting good governance at State Owned Companies,” Cohen said.

Molefe left Eskom under a cloud following the release of the Public Protector’s report into state capture late last year.

The report raised questions about his proximity to members of the Gupta family whose company, Tegeta Exploration and Resources, is a supplier of coal to Eskom.

Cohen said BUSA aligned itself with the concerns expressed by many South Africans about Molefe’s return to Eskom, including the ruling party in this regard.

“BUSA views Eskom as a vital entity in the health of our country’s economy and the attractiveness of South Africa as an investment destination that is supported by sustainable public finances.”

News broke on Friday morning that Molefe 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”.

Molefe has since resigned as Member of Parliament to pave way for his return at the power utility.

Last month, Brown objected to Eskom’s R30 million pension payout to Molefe after he applied for an early retirement.

The ANC condemned as unfortunate and reckless the decision to reinstate Molefe as Eskom CEO and said it would seek engagement with Brown on the matter.

The Democratic Alliance said it wants a full-scale parliamentary inquiry to probe the circumstances leading to, and the reasoning for, the decision to reinstate Molefe.

The Economic Freedom Fighters characterised the decision as “illegal” and “corrupt”, saying the move was solely based on advancing the personal interests of Molefe as a Gupta stooge.

But Brown said she had endorsed the Eskom board’s decision to reinstate Molefe to return to the utility to serve out the remainder of his contract at the end of September 2020.