Brian Molefe File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/Independent Media
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma is behind Brian Molefe’s return to Eskom to ensure that the controversial Gupta family continues to benefit from Eskom coal contracts, the SACP said on Friday.

“President Zuma is a smart man. As you know he’s not in the country at the moment. He will distance himself from this Molefe matter and say he was not around when the appointment happened but the bottom line is that Molefe was the president’s choice for minister of finance which we rejected,” deputy secretary Solly Mapaila said at the sidelines of the SACP executive committee meeting in Johannesburg.

“It is quite clear that he (Zuma) is involved in this matter to make sure what ever happens to Molefe ultimately should be the enrichment of the Guptas and his son.”

Zuma’s son, Duduzane, is a business partner of the wealthy Gupta family who have interests in mining, media and ICT, among others.

Mapaila said Molefe was “a good stuurboy (messenger boy) of the Guptas” who was being shielded by the Eskom.

“Brian Molefe has been part of a disruptive agenda, when he went to Parliament the intention was to make him minister of finance, when that did not work, he had to come back to fulfil his mission to make sure Guptas continue to gain from coal supplies through the Tegeta company with the president’s son,” Mapaila said.

“It is clear that he will always be protected he has been too good to them (Guptas), not only at Eskom, but even at Transnet, the Public Investment Corporation and so on. He is actually the good stuurboy of the Guptas.

"It is shocking the board would take such a decision.”

The board should reverse the decision to bring Molefe back to the power utility, he added.

Molefe and Eskom came under fire on Friday from political parties, unions, watchdog organisations and the ANC over the board’s decision to bring him back as Eskom chief executive. Opposition parties said they would launch a court challenge against Molefe to block him from taking over at Megawatt Park on Monday.

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown backed his re-appointment, despite the widespread anger.

She told the media on Friday she fully understood the anger against the decision of the Eskom board to reinstate him – but it was the better option for the board. She said despite Molefe being linked to the State of Capture report he had not been found guilty of anything.

She said Molefe would serve the remaining two-and-a-half years of his contract.

Bringing Molefe back to Eskom was a better option than paying him R30 million, said Brown.

Molefe is due to start his new job at Eskom on Monday after a three-month stint as an ANC MP.

However, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa described the decision as reckless and insensitive.

He said Molefe left Eskom under a cloud last November after the State of Capture report had made observations against him.

“None of the observations against Mr Molefe, so significant at the time, has been conclusively set aside. And Mr Molefe’s own commitment to fully clear his name is still pending,” said Kodwa.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane also lashed out at the decision to reinstate Molefe, and said his party would mount a challenge to it in court.

The EFF also threatened legal action, saying the party would do everything it could to stop Molefe’s return.

The unions also weighed into the saga, saying it was questionable.