Pretoria - Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe is a content man who just wants to serve the nation, his lawyer Barry Farber said on Thursday, speaking after the damning judgment delivered by the High Court in Pretoria.
Journalists asked Farber whether his client was prepared to walk away from the Eskom wrangle, or would continue to fight for his job at the state-owned power utility.
Farber responded: “I would say that he wants to serve the state, and if there is any position that he could earn money and go back [to], he would. But then I can’t. I can’t speak for him.”
Regarding perceptions in society that Molefe’s credibility has gone down the drain, particularly based on the alleged corrupt relationship with the politically connected Gupta family, Farber said his client was innocent until proven guilty.
“Well, whatever the allegations are … you are corrupt when you found to be corrupt. You are not corrupt until then. And Molefe doesn’t instruct us that he was corrupt. I can’t give you so much info,” said Farber.
He, however, said the judgement delivered on Thursday by High Court Judge Elias Matojane, on behalf of a full bench, had hit the Molefe camp hard.
“It came down on us like a tonne of bricks. It was a very strong bench [of judges]. You go to respect that,” said Farber.
Asked how Molefe, who was not in court on Thursday, was, Farber said: “Mr Molefe is a very strong individual. He is a family man. He never complains to me -- except when he gets his account for [attorneys] fees. Other than that, he is a very happy, content man. I can’t tell you more”.
Earlier, the superior court ruled that Molefe was not entitled to any pension benefits from the state-owned power utility, and must pay back the money he has since received as part of the controversial R30 million payout.
"We came to the conclusion that the reinstatement of Mr Molefe as Group Chief Executive Officer at Eskom is at variance with the principle of legality and is invalid and false - to be set aside," Matojane read out the judgment.
"We also found that Mr Molefe was never entitled to receive any pension benefits from the Eskom pension fund, and any payments made in lieu of such benefits were patently unlawful."
The court then ruled that Molefe must pay back every cent advanced to him from the pension fund, in the next 10 days.
Molefe has already received R11 million from the R30 million pension payout.
The matter was brought by South Africa’s official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, and trade union Solidarity, seeking an order declaring Molefe’s R30-million pension payout unlawful and for it to be set aside.
Molefe left Eskom under a dark cloud after being implicated in the then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s damning State of Capture report.
African News Agency/ANA