Second, section 195 of the Constitution establishes the basic values and principles meant to govern administration. In addition to the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, public administration is supposed to maintain a high standard of professional ethics, and must be both accountable and transparent. Public administration is supposed to be underpinned by good human resource management. Practically every incident in the Brian Molefe saga flies in the face of these provisions in the Constitution… Obfuscatory explanations, a R30 million pension/severance payout, and the unwillingness to allow public scrutiny into the inner workings of the public utility company.

Brain Molefe’s return to Eskom is being challenged – rightly so – before the courts on the basis that he is not competent to be CEO of Eskom, or of any other state-owned entity. The same challenge is also asking the courts to dissolve the Board of Eskom for having made an irrational decision and that Minister Lynn Brown’s endorsement of the Board’s decision be set aside.

Ultimately, this entire saga is the result of “state capture” – aptly described in the State of Capture Report compiled by the Public Protector’s Office. Further, the bizarre turn of events pointedly speaks to a divided governing party, with one side “captured” and thus unable to effect due oversight over organs of state. It remains to be seen how the National Assembly will discharge its constitutional obligation to maintain oversight and hold Eskom accountable. 

By Ms Phephelaphi Dube: Director, Centre for Constitutional Rights