Parliament’s inquiry into state capture continued again on Tuesday where Anton Minnaar, the head of executive support at Eskom was called in to answer for facilitating what some have called the theft of R30m from Eskom to pay ex-CEO Brian Molefe’s pension.
Molefe was at Eskom for less than 20 months, and it was revealed at the inquiry that he did not have a contract in place for a number of months after starting his job as CEO of the power utility. Minaar has absolved himself of any wrong doings and reiterated that he has never misled anyone throughout his testimony in parliament.
Giving evidence, Minaar said Molefe was going to receive a R25m pensions pay-out, but then he got married and that changed the amount to R30m. The Board was asked how come they did not know how much pension pay-out former CEO Brian Molefe was supposed to get.
Minaar was asked by chairperson of the inquiry Zukiswa Rantho why they failed to have Molefe’s contract ready when he started and why it took three months to develop a contract. “Is that a standard practice at Eskom? How do you pay an employee without a contract in place?”
Minaar denied that it was not a standard practice and also highlighted that the five-year appointment is not a standard practice and it was the first time it has happened at the company
Rantho said it was clear there was no contract in place for Molefe when he started. “Mr Molefe according to everybody brought change and it was good he came as it was what was needed. I take it the money calculated was a golden handshake,” she asked.
Rantho further enquired: “He was on unpaid leave, retirement and because he turned things around he needed to be given something. Was that an instruction from Salim Essa?
Minaar said there was no instruction given that Molefe be paid. Rantho further probed Minaar about who gave instructions on the calculation of pension funds.
“Who gives instruction to say this should be done until age 63 irrespective of him only have worked for 18 months? The issue of employment at Eskom is becoming more worrisome. After the saga with Mr Molefe, where do you stand with such unforeseen circumstances? It is sad that this has happened at such a respected place as Eskom. Mr Molefe admitted it was wrong for him to have a pension fund at Eskom but you Mr Minaar don’t want to agree that in your calculations, you mislead the board & minister.”
Minaar said going forward they would have to get clear indications on remunerations. “We will be clearly guided going forward…I do not agree it was a mistake and I did not mislead anyone…There was nothing bad intended, it was just an issue of settling the contract,” he charged.
Rantho concluded: “Eskom is proposing a tariff hike but the reputation has been damaged. If Eskom is able to take R30 million out of its coffers to pay Mr Molefe who has worked for only 18 months, can you give me a word to justify that increment to people on the ground,” she asked.