Resigned, retired, reinstated and rescinded Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has launched an urgent legal bid to stop the company board from removing him from the post.
According to reports on Sunday, both public enterprises minister Lynne Brown and the Eskom board have received notice of the legal bid, which Molefe wants to be heard urgently.
Molefe was effectively ‘fired’ this past week after the Eskom board and Brown noted that his contract as CEO would be rescinded.
The Eskom exec has been the center of controversy after he returned to work, having resigned in November 2016. His return was a result of a failed R30 million ‘retirement package’, which it was found he did not qualify for.
It was only revealed in April 2017 that Molefe had not resigned as he and Eskom had stated in 2016, but had rather applied for early retirement. When the retirement could not be processed, as Molefe is too young to meet the requirements, the Eskom board walked back on the cancelling of his contract, and reinstated him as CEO.
However, opposition parties and even the ANC itself would have none of it, saying that the whole situation was an embarrassment and a sham.
When called on to explain how it could be that a resigned executive, who later served as an MP in Parliament, could so suddenly be reinstated, Brown and Eskom chair Ben Ngubane spun a tall tale around Molefe being on “unpaid leave”.
Finance minister Malusi Gigaba said that the decision to reappoint Molefe has caused Eskom, the government and all involved a lot of reputational damage.
He said that the decision should not have been taken at all, and that the Eskom board should have worked around the contract mess through other avenues.