Ex-Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has been sworn in as a Member of Parliament representing the ANC of the North West Province.
Molefe was initially expected to be sworn in ahead of the the Budget Speech on Wednesday (22 February), but the move was delayed with no explanation.
Two sources from Parliament confirmed to News24 that the swearing in took place in the Speaker’s office on Thursday morning.
Molefe was at first seen as the key player in bringing Eskom back in line, but has become a controversial figure after being implicated in the wider Gupta state capture scandal.
The executive resigned as CEO of Eskom at the end of 2016 following the release of the Public Protector’s State Capture report, in which he was implicated as having a close relationship with the Gupta family.
The report contained phone call records, showing that Molefe and the Gupta brothers had made 58 phone calls to each other in a small window of time.
This was over and above allegations contained in the report that the Gupta family had received preferential treatment by Eskom, and were even ‘bailed out’ by the power utility, where Eskom funded the family’s acquisition of Optimum coal mines.
It has been speculated that Molefe is being primed to replace finance minister Pravin Gordhan in an imminent cabinet reshuffle.
Analysts have been expecting a reshuffle for a number of months, but understood that the process had been delayed because president Jacob Zuma wanted Molefe to move into a more prominent position – however he needed to be elected as an MP first.
Now that he has been elected as an MP, all eyes will be on the president as to where Molefe will fit into the picture.
ANC MP, Makhosi Khoza, this week confirmed that she is being moved out of her position on parliament’s standing committee on finance, amid rumours that Molefe will move into a position in the finance ministry.
If not a replacement for Gordhan, analysts have also speculated that Molefe could replace his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas.