The entire Eskom board must resign, not just group chief executive Brian Molefe, the Economic Freedom Fighters said on Friday. “Suffice to say, if they do not, the EFF will make sure that Parliament dissolves them as soon as possible,” said EFF MP and spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. Welcoming Molefe’s resignation on Friday as “a step forward in cleansing state institutions”, the EFF called Molefe a “mythomaniac” – a person who lies or makes up stories.
Ndlozi said Molefe had lied to Parliament when he denied going to the home of the Gupta family, who are majority shareholders in a company with a huge coal contract with Eskom, which they obtained without bidding for it. President Jacob Zuma’a son Duduzane is also a shareholder in the company, Tegeta Mineral Resources, which was controversially given a massive loan from Eskom to buy out an ailing competitor in the coal supply business. EFF leader Julius Malema tweeted earlier that: “Zuma can learn from Brian #SaxonwoldShebeen Molefe”.
The suggestion by critics was that the Guptas were benefiting from their proximity to the president, through his son, and were involved in hand-picking ministers who could protect or further their business interests. According to the State of Capture report, compiled under previous Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s watch, Molefe’s phone records showed him in the vicinity of the Gupta home in Saxonwold.
It also detailed phone calls he received from the Guptas around the time the Tegeta coal deal was being put together. The report did not specifically finger Molefe, but the insinuation that the phone records placed him close to their residence had Molefe reaching for his handkerchief in a press conference following the release of the report.
He said that, hypothetically, he may or may not have been visiting a shebeen in the area, launching the hashtag #SaxonwoldShebeen, which brought some light relief to the seriousness of the claims. When Molefe took over at Eskom in September 2015, the power utility was in the grip of “load shedding” – a euphemism for rationing power supplies according to a roster. Molefe has been credited with keeping the power grid stable since his takeover.
Meanwhile, Corruption Watch said the allegations against Molefe in the media and in the “state capture” report must still be the subject of the judicial inquiry that the Public Protector recommended. Corruption Watch said any alleged irregular conduct by Molefe would not have been possible without the board’s consent, specifically the chairperson of the board, Dr Baldwin (Ben) Ngubane. “The organisation urges the members of the board to consider whether their continued leadership of the parastatal is in fact in the best interests of Eskom.”
- ^ News24 (www.news24.com)
- ^ Democratic Alliance laying charges against Brian Molefe after resigning as Eskom CEO (mybroadband.co.za)