Empowerment mining company Umthombo Resources had until Tuesday to show why an interdict for the freezing of its bank accounts should not be made permanent, Blakes Maphanga Attorneys said yesterday.
On February 28, Matodzi Nesongozwi, in his capacity as one of the two directors of Umthombo, brought an urgent application before the South Gauteng High Court to freeze six Absa bank accounts held by Umthombo Coal, an associated prospecting firm.
He alleged that Umthombo had been hijacked by fellow director Vuslat Bayoglu, and he sought to restrain Umthombo and Bayoglu and their agents from operating the accounts.
Umthombo Resources operates two collieries in Witbank, whose coal is exported through the Maputo harbour.
On another front, Absa also wants to close all the banking accounts of Umthombo Resources, and those of its associated firms, and hand over the credit balances to the sheriff of the high court.
The bank also wants to liquidate all amounts owing to it by the 10 companies it names in its application to the South Gauteng High Court.
Umthombo has shares in these companies or they are shareholders in Umthombo.
One of the 10 companies involved is Copper Sunset Trading 403, whose shareholder is a company associated with members of the Sisulu family dynasty.
Max Sisulu, the Speaker of Parliament, is the sole shareholder of Nelesco 715, which owns 33.3 percent of Sunset Trading. The rest is held by Umthombo.
Sisulu’s son, Shaka, and Moyikwa Sisulu, the son of the former chief executive of the SABC and late business mogul, Zwelakhe Sisulu, are the majority directors on the board of Nelesco.
The company describes its business in the certificate issued by the registrar of companies and corporations as mining, trading, resources, exploration, import and export.
Absa says the sheriff must hold the funds in her accounts pending the outcome of all the disputes between the 10 companies and their directors.
The main dispute is between the two directors of the board of Umthombo, Bayoglu and Nesongozwi. It dates back to October 2010, when Nesongozwi was allegedly unlawfully denied access to Umthombo’s records.
There has been extensive litigation between the two directors, and bank accounts of Umthombo have repeatedly been frozen by one party only to be unfrozen by the other.