Resuming his testimony after a tea adjournment, former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe defended his U-turn to return to the power utility because he was confident he would be cleared of the corruption allegations made in the Public Protector’s report released in 2016.
Earlier on Wednesday, Molefe told the commission’s chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that he left Eskom as he was implicated in the report.
The move activated the agreement Molefe had reached with Eskom’s board to receive his pension funds, after which he was told the early retirement was a mistake and needed to be reversed.
The former Eskom boss said the DA and EFF launched a court application to have him removed from the power utility after his return.
“After getting back at Eskom, I only stayed there for two weeks because the DA and EFF launched a court application to have me removed from the position,” he said.
Molefe denied claims by former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas’ testimony that one of the Gupta brothers had told Jonas the family worked closely with the former Eskom boss and his career was well looked after.
“I do not need anyone who meets Jonas in corridors. I can take care of myself,” he said.
Referring to Eskom board’s approval of a prepayment for coal of R1.65bn to Swiss-owned mining company Glencore, Molefe told the commission he could not comment as he was in hospital when the decision was made.
“I knew there had been a prepayment and that prepayment was converted to a guarantee, but the guarantee was never called. So when I came to know about the prepayment I was concerned that suddenly we had an exposure, but fortunately it was never called,” he said.
Molefe further said there had been a coal crisis at the power utility before he went for an operation on his shoulder.
“Chairperson, at different times during the business rescue we sat and worked different scenarios. The one scenario was liquidation and the other one was sale of the business. Meanwhile, during November I remember there was a bit of a coal crisis.
“I did say that we needed to keep the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy informed of our situation at Eskom and its possible implications, but I did not see the letter that was drafted by Ms Suzanne Daniels. The discussions were not conclusive,” he said.
On Tuesday, Molefe noted that Eskom’s decision to end long-term coal supply contracts was to blame for the power utility’s struggles to secure coal supplies and the reason behind load shedding.