Aurora workers doubt Bhana family’s intentions to pay
Companies / 16 February 2016, 07:30am / Dineo Faku
Johannesburg - Aurora Empowerment Systems employees are not convinced that justice had been served after six Bhana family members who were linked to the collapse of the Aurora assets agreed to pay liquidators R6 million over 12 months, they said yesterday.
Deon Pieterse, a former engineering foreman at Grootvlei’s Shaft 4, said the payment was not a victory for employees as the Bhana family had not met promises in the past.
“It’s not a victory, it means nothing to me. They could not keep promises. After six years the liquidators will be lucky if they are paid R200 000,” Pieterse said.
“They (Bhanas) have agreed to give liquidators crumbs from their table if you consider their business interests.
“That is a drop in the bucket, and is ridiculous… compared with the amount they stole, which is R300 million. After such a long period there is a little bit of justice for workers,” he added.
Gideon du Plessis, the secretary-general of Solidarity, said Fazel and Solly Bhana, and four other family members had paid R200 000 on Friday and would pay another R200 000 by month-end.
The Bhanas are expected to pay a further R2.5m by the end of next month.
“They then have until January 31, 2017 to pay back the balance in equal monthly payments,” Du Plessis said, adding that the payment meant justice had been served.
He said, however, that the Bhanas’ reputation was somewhat doubtful. “Every small victory is a step closer to justice for the Aurora employees. The agreement with the Bhanas is just a consequence of many judicial processes currently running.”
The agreement did not include Khulubuse Zuma, President Jacob Zuma’s nephew; Zondwa Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson; and Thulani Ngubane, who were Aurora directors when the mines closed down.
Aurora was the parent company, which was appointed by the Pamodzi Liquidators to manage the Grootvlei and Orkney mines.
In June, Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann ruled that the Bhanas, Zuma, Mandela and Ngubane had fraudulently misrepresented their ability to pay for the Pamodzi Gold mines in 2009 when the previous owner was placed under provisional liquidation.
Judge Bertelsmann said the directors should be held responsible for R1.7 billion in compensation due to ransacking and mismanaging of the mines.
However, the directors appealed this ruling.
David Swartz, a lawyer for the Bhana family, confirmed the agreement yesterday.
“It’s a good settlement,” he said. While it brings an end to the claim against the family, the main Aurora case, which involves Solly and Fazel Bhana continues, said Swartz, who also represents Zondwa Mandela.