Trade union Solidarity’s case regarding the repayment of the unlawful funds appropriated to former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe kicked off in the Pretoria High Court today.
Solidarity argued that the misrepresentations made by Molefe and the Eskom Board with regard to the controversial pension grant of about R30 million, and the amount of more than R10 million paid to Molefe, should be declared unlawful. Solidarity Chief Executive Dirk Hermann argued that Molefe was not entitled to the money paid to him. “Major misrepresentations were made to the pension fund, which amounts to fraud,” Hermann said.
According Hermann, Molefe’s argument that he actually was a member of the pension fund and that he took early retirement, carries no weight. “After the release of the State Capture Report, Molefe resigned voluntarily and publicly, for which the pension fund does not make provision,” Hermann added.
“It is an evil day when we have to go to court to enforce good business ethics. Despite the fact that it is well-known that the payments were unlawful, Solidarity has to go to court to force him to pay back the money,” Hermann said.
According to Hermann, a mere apology or repayment is not enough. “Unlawful actions have consequences and Solidarity feels strongly that a criminal investigation and charges should follow,” Hermann said.
Solidarity also asks that Molefe should be held accountable in his personal capacity for the legal costs incurred by the trade union. “This case forms part of tax politics and we must not permit a situation where taxpayers have to pay for actions in which they ask that tax money be paid back,” Hermann added.
“This case is not only on behalf of Solidarity members; it is also on behalf of all taxpayers. South Africa needs more tax activism,” Hermann concluded.