South African Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has declined Eskom’s proposal to pay its former group chief executive Brian Molefe a US$2.31 million golden handshake after he resigned from the power utility after 18 months in office a month after being named in an official “State of Capture” report.According to the minister on Monday, the Eskom board’s reasoning in formulating the proposed pension payout lacked legal rationale.
This cannot be substantiated as a performance reward because Molefe had already been granted a performance bonus for his contribution to the turnaround of Eskom, she pointed out.
“Nor is the proposed pension payout justifiable in light of the current financial challenges faced, not only by state-owned companies (SOCs), but by the country as a whole.
“I have in the past asked Eskom and the other five SOCs in my portfolio to demonstrate financial prudence and social consciousness when considering executive emoluments.”
Brown has instructed the board to urgently engage Molefe and report back to her with an appropriate pension proposal within seven days, and to investigate how the board’s proposal leaked to the public prior to her having had the opportunity to consider it.
“It is unfortunate that such a sensitive and private matter was handled so recklessly,” the minister said.
Molefe resigned from Eskom in November 2016 after being named by former public protector Thuli Madonsela in her “State of Capture” report of his close ties with the Gupta Brothers who have a contract to supply coal to the utility.