The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday said it will write to Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane to request that she probes the R30 million pension payout to former Eskom chief executive, Brian Molefe.

Molefe walked away with a R30.1 million “golden handshake” even though he was at the power utility for only 18 months.He resigned from Eskom in November under a cloud after being named in former public protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela’s “State of Capture” report.

The DA’s spokeswoman on finance, Natasha Mazzone, said Molefe’s R30 million payout clearly pointed to a case of gross abuse of public funds. Mazzone said it was outrageous that Molefe would be awarded such an “exuberant bonus” after only 10 months at the helm of the power utility, especially after he resigned out of his own accord.

“The Public Protector must therefore investigate this highly irregular pay-out, in order to establish on what basis Molefe deserves to receive this amount of money,” Mazzone said.

“It is unacceptable that taxpayer money is repeatedly used to benefit underperforming executives who do not deserve it, while vital infrastructure projects are left to gather dust.”

Molefe said he had been paid “what was due” to him but refused to give a figure.

Mazzone said this was clearly not just a pension pay-out as Molefe claimed but a “golden handshake”, adding that the DA strongly urges him to immediately pay back the R30 million bonus.

“The DA will not stand for the irregular use of taxpayer money – there are vital projects which need this money and which would benefit all South Africans,” Mazzone said.