Economy / 17 April 2019, 09:00am / Luyolo Mkentane
JOHANNESBURG – Under-fire Deputy Master of the High Court Christene Rossouw appointed the liquidators of the short-lived voluntary winding down of the affairs of African Global Operations – a group of companies that were formerly known as Bosasa.
The voluntary liquidation lasted only a few days after the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg found that the meeting convened by African Global Operations where the decision was taken was not properly constituted.
Rossouw appointed the liquidators despite the fact that the case was not heard in her jurisdiction of Pretoria.
Liquidators fall within Rossouw’s domain and they are also answerable to her for their conduct.
Rossouw has admitted to being friends with some of the liquidators.
She said the friendship spanned more than two decades.
“I, in my capacity as Deputy Master, signed some of the appointment certificates in respect of certain of the companies forming part of the Bosasa Group,” she said this week.
“My colleague and fellow Deputy Master, Ms Mariaan Barnard, also signed certain of the appointment certificates.”
African Global Operations filed for voluntary liquidation in February after local banks closed the companies’ accounts on reputational risks following a sting of exposés in the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
The companies that were issued with certificates of appointment included Watson Corporate Academy (Pty) Ltd, Black Rox Security Intelligence Services (Pty) Ltd, ON-IT-I (Pty) Limited, and Bosasa Supply Chain Management (Pty) Ltd.
The liquidators were granted leave to appeal the ruling that set their appointment aside.
This week, Business Report detailed the process that led in appointing Cloete Murray and Ralph Lutchman as liquidators in February, a month before African Global Operations successfully overturned the voluntary liquidation.
Senior officials in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development have accused Acting Chief Master Theresia “Tessie” Bezuidenhout of taking files from the Johannesburg Master's Office to Pretoria, where the liquidators were appointed.
The officials said the act could have been in violation of section 356 of the Companies Act.
Bezuidenhout insisted that all Master's Offices fell within her supervision and control.
“I thus have lawful jurisdiction over the office,” she said at the time, insisting that the appointment of the Bosasa liquidator, however, was done by the Johannesburg office.
The department's spokesperson, Steve Mahlangu, conceded that some of the appointments were made in Pretoria.
Mahlangu said the appointment of Murray as a provisional liquidator in 10 of the entities of African Global Operations was done on an urgent basis by the Johannesburg office.
“A panel of officials dealt with the appointment of further provisional liquidators to deal with the administration of the 11 entities,” he said.
“As the panel sat in the Pretoria office the appointments were signed by Ms Rossouw and Ms Barnard. Mr Murray stayed on as provisional liquidator. The panel consisted of various senior officials from different Master's Offices countrywide.”