Aurora court bid delayed

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Khulubuse Zuma Independent Newspapers Aurora boss Khulubuse Zuma. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

Pretoria - A bid by the joint liquidators of Aurora Empowerment Systems to hold the directors and managers of the insolvent company personally liable for the collapse of the Pomodzi mines will only commence in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

This was after a delay caused by the very late filing of opposing papers in the application by Aurora directors, Nelson Mandela's grandson Zonda Mandela and president Jacob Zuma's nephew Khulubuse Zuma.

Although the respondents in the application only had until July 16 to oppose the application, Zuma filed his affidavit a mere 15

minutes before the application was to commence before Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann.

Mandela apparently only filed his opposing affidavit on Sunday.

It is believed that both will ask the court on Tuesday to condone the late filing of their court papers.

The claim amounts to about R1.6 billion and will include that all proceeds from the sale of gold, equipment, scrap metal and other assets, as well as the unlawful use of investment funds by the directors and their friends and family, must be repaid.

The funds will be used to pay former employees of the Pamodzi mines in Springs and Orkney their unpaid salaries.

Aurora Empowerment Systems is the parent company appointed by Pamodzi liquidators to manage the two mines.

However, the directors of Aurora destroyed both mines through alleged looting and mismanagement.

Kulubuse Zuma's spokeswoman Sibusisiwe Khumalo blamed the late filing of opposing papers on the liquidators, whom she said failed to send all of the required documents to them.

“The stuff they sent us was incomplete, but we still managed to file the affidavit.

“We're going to request the court to order the applicants to give us those missing documents so that if we need to supplement the affidavit we will do so,” she said.

Asked about Zuma's view on the issues, she said he had been accused of acting recklessly and fraudulently in the contract-bid for purchasing the mines; that the bid he presented had been inaccurate and that he “said certain things he could not fulfil”.

“This is untrue. We have documents that it was exactly the opposite.

“He tried to basically revive the company. For example, he paid a certain amount towards the workers that were unpaid.

“Unfortunately the company was hopelessly insolvent, so the workers were not getting paid even before Aurora took over.

“So when Mr Zuma came in, he was told about this matter and he made means to get the workers paid,” Khumalo said.

Members of the trade union Solidarity and Cosatu's North West branch participated in a demonstration outside the court on Monday.

They are opposed to any further bids to delay the hearing.

Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis earlier said in a statement the rule of law must prevail and the interests of 3500 former Pamodzi employees must be served.

He said the former mineworkers had lost thousands in lost earnings, their pensions were halved and their human dignity impaired.

Many former miners have had to survive on food parcels from charity organisations since the collapse of the mines. - Sapa



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