While the country comes to term with the announced resignation of Brain Molefe, Eskom’s board chairman, another top SA official, Sbu Ndebele says he’s ready to let go of his appointment for the sake of the country’s reputation.
Sbu Ndebele, who is South Africa’s former high commissioner to Australia and the erstwhile minister of transport, offered to leave office in Canberra to avoid marring the country’s reputation.
Speaking to Business Day during the weekend, Ndebele confirmed he was back in the country and ready to answer to charges against him related to the extension of a contract at the Department of Transport while he was minister.
The former minister who is expected to appear at the High Court in Pretoria in December, told Business Day he had not been pushed to leave the office.
“It was an agreement. If you look at my own approach to things, you don’t put an organisation in a position where you have to choose between Sbu and the movement.
“You remove yourself from that. Certain issues don’t need to drag other people in. We are settling that,” said Ndebele as he added that there had never been a discussion of any payment to him by the high commission for leaving the post.
Sbu Ndebele stands accused of having accepted a R10m bribe in exchange for extending Tasima’s contract to run the electronic national administration traffic information system (eNatis).
Analysts and observers had earlier warned of the damage to the country of having a diplomat with criminal allegations hanging over his head. But Ndebele confirmed his plan to leave office while he prepares to appear in the High Court in Pretoria on December 1.
Speaking further on his plans to forgo his duties to the country, the former minister said there had never been a discussion of any payment to him by the high commission for leaving the post.
“We haven’t discussed anything like a severance package. If there are allegations against you about such serious matters, you answer them. Everything you are talking about (was) being discussed and exhausted in 2010,” he said as he emphasized that he had no worries about the case’s outcome.
Meanwhile, the Department of Transport had challenged the validity of the Tasima’s contract successfully in the Constitutional Court last week.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters described the Constitutional Court outcome as a “victory for all South Africans”.
“It has been a battle, this contract was illegally extended, and we have been fighting to prove that it was illegally extended,” she said.
The department has taken back control of eNatis after several years of legal wrangle with Tasima which played out in the high court and the Supreme Court of Appeal, ending up in the highest court in the country.