The Save South Africa campaign has welcomed government’s instruction to Eskom to remove Brian Molefe as its CEO.
The move confirmed the value of civil society’s opposition to underhanded attempts to manoeuvre him back into office, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Given the rot at Eskom and the pivotal role the power utility plays in funding state capture, we believe government should go at least one step further and remove the entire board,” it said.
“Its complicity in state capture and corruption – not to mention the nefarious extra-mural activities of chairman Ben Ngubane – means the board must be the next target for letters of dismissal.”
Save SA warned Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown against the reinstatement of Matshela Koko as acting CEO. It would spur another round of protests, at a time when government had more than enough public anger to deal with.
Brown told reporters in Cape Town earlier on Wednesday that an inter-ministerial committee had ordered the Eskom board to rescind the decision to reinstate Molefe.
The committee, appointed by President Jacob Zuma, consisted of Brown, Justice Minister Michael Masutha, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, and Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi.
The Eskom board said in a statement on Wednesday night that it had received Brown’s instruction and would meet to discuss the issues she had raised.
Shortly after her announcement, the DA said it had written to the chair of Parliament’s public enterprises committee, Zukiswa Rantho, to demand an “urgent, full-scale” inquiry into Eskom.
“Only a full-scale Parliamentary inquiry has the capacity to get to the bottom of the rot at Eskom,” DA MP Natasha Mazzone said.
She questioned the transparency of the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) probe into Eskom, which Brown had set in motion.
The SIU was expected to focus on procurement at the power utility. It would consider seven reports dating back to 2007, and in which Eskom officials were implicated in wrongdoing and impropriety, Fin24 previously reported.
The portfolio committee confirmed that a company would investigate the destruction of documents related to Molefe’s employment contracts.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told News24 the ANC welcomed the ministerial committee’s decision to rescind Molefe’s reinstatement.
Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane previously warned that, based on legal opinion Eskom had received, should Molefe’s appointment be rescinded and he approached a labour court, he could receive millions of rands for his five-year contract being cut short.
“That will be much higher than R30m,” he said, referring to the pension payout Molefe would have received, but which Brown blocked.
Ngubane previously defended Molefe’s coal supply deal with Gupta-owned Tegeta. Other coal suppliers had wanted to increase the price of coal, despite ongoing rolling blackouts at the time, he said.