Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown says newly reinstated Eskom CEO Brian Molefe remains innocent until he is proven guilty.
This is despite Molefe being implicated in the public protector’s State of Capture report released late last year.
Molefe abruptly resigned as an MP late on Thursday after a brief stint as a backbencher following an Eskom board decision reinstate him after Brown blocked a board resolution to pay him a R30 million pension payout.
On Friday Molefe returned to his old position and Brown has thrown her weight behind him‚ supporting the power utility’s decision to reinstate him as chief executive officer.
This goes against the ANC’s views on the matter‚ which were expressed in a statement issued shortly before Brown’s press briefing.
Brown said she believed that Eskom would benefit from the “return to the helm of the man primarily responsible for the company’s turnaround in 2015/2016“.
“The issue for me is that there is outrage and the outrage is around one issue and that’s the State of Capture report. Now the State of Capture report makes one recommendation. The recommendation is for further investigation and‚ until the president uses his prerogative and calls a commission of inquiry or there’s another form of an investigation‚ Mr Molefe is not guilty of anything yet.
“And so for me I think that’s the outrage there’s been in the public space. That it’s an ethical outcry‚” said Brown.
In her praise for Molefe’s management of Eskom during his previous tenure‚ she claimed: “As it stands Eskom … has been able to cover its costs. The company is financially sustainable. Mr Molefe is actually the person who brought Eskom to where it is today.”
The ANC‚ on the other hand‚ described the decision to reinstate Molefe as “insensitive“. ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the party “condemns the unfortunate and reckless decision” by the Eskom board.
“Mr Molefe left Eskom under a cloud following the release of the Public Protector’s report into State Capture late last year‚” said Kodwa.
Brown said Molefe would now serve the remaining two and half years of his contract on a repackaged contract.
She refused to comment on the ANC’s statement that condemned Molefe’s reappointment.