Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown

The ANC also urged the government and Parliament to “act decisively” and deal with the “irrational and untenable situation”.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the latest version of the Brian Molefe saga — that he had never resigned from Eskom but was in fact on unpaid leave, contradicted his own statement when he resigned from Eskom last year.

“According to the incoherent version tabled today, Mr Molefe had never resigned from Eskom but rather was on unpaid leave.

“This is in direct contradiction to Mr Molefe’s own statement when he left the utility, andminister Brown’s letter dated November 30, 2016, where she approved the appointment of Mr Koko as acting group chief executive following the resignation of Mr Brian Molefe,” Kodwa said in a statement.

“On the strength of the representations from minister Brown and Mr Molefe, the ANC acceded to his nomination as member of Parliament.

“Not only are these latest developments disingenuous to say the least, they amount to perjury.”

Brown and Eskom board members, including chairperson Ben Ngubane, faced tough questions from MPs about Molefe’s departure from Eskom and his subsequent return last week.

Brown told the committee she recently learnt Molefe had not resigned, but in fact had asked for early retirement, hence the board’s proposal to pay him R30million in a pension settlement.

She said that she would not oppose the opposition's court bid for Molefe’s reappointment by the Eskom board to be set aside. “I will abide by the decision of the court,” Brown told the committee.

She added she did not “expect that society would universally welcome Mr Molefe’s return”, but had thought that the presumption of innocence and the fact he would be under intense scrutiny would mitigate concerns.

The DA last week filed a twofold application in the high court in Pretoria asking that Molefe be prevented from performing any functions at Eskom and that his reappointment be rescinded.

Brown said in terms of the first part of the application, that he be stopped from working, she reserved her rights.

Opposition MPs criticised her for not submitting her affidavit to the committee yesterday, not giving MPs all documents relating to Molefe’s reappointment and the proposed R30m pension payout she rejected earlier, preferring instead that he return to his old post.

Brown said his initial contract with Eskom had been signed in terms of an earlier memorandum of incorporation which did not, unlike the later 2016 one, oblige the board to inform the minister of the terms of his employment.

Ngubane declined to give the committee further clarity on the negotiations around both Molefe’s departure and his return, saying the matter was before the court. But DA chief whip John Steenhuisen countered that the sub judice rule was obsolete and said Eskom had no excuse not to account to Parliament. – ANA