Battle over Gupta-owned mine taken to Supreme Court of Appeal
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Johannesburg - Another massive sale of assets belonging to Gupta-owned Shiva Uranium is on the cards as the battle between the company’s current and former business rescue practitioners heads to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
This week, Shiva Uranium closed its invitation to bidders to submit offers for mine infrastructure such as shafts, roads infrastructure, dams and dumps, properties as well as mining rights and licences including the transfer of all regulatory requirements.
The sale, which relates to Shiva Uranium’s Hartbeesfontein, North West site, also includes gold and uranium resources, pressure acid leach uranium plant, carbon-in-leach gold processing plant, smelt house, electrical and water reticulation.
The sale was sanctioned by Shiva Uranium’s joint business rescue practitioners Chris Monyela and Juanito Damons, who face more legal battles launched by Mahomed Mahier Tayob and Eugene Januarie, the business rescue practitioners unlawfully appointed by Shiva Uranium chief executive and director George van der Merwe.
Shiva Uranium was placed under voluntary business rescue in February last year.
Tayob and Januarie are turning to the SCA to apply for leave to appeal after North Gauteng High Court Judge Mokhine Mosopa’s December judgment dismissed their urgent bid to interdict the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission from implementing its Companies Tribunal’s decision not to recognise them as Shiva Uranium’s business rescue practitioners.
In February, Mosopa also dismissed Tayob and Januarie’s bid to apply for leave to appeal his decision to the full bench of the high court or the SCA, saying his order cannot be appealed as the two did not show they would suffer irreparable harm if they were not granted leave to appeal.
In his founding affidavit, Tayob told the SCA that Mosopa had misinterpreted the Companies Act, which regulates the appointment of business rescue practitioners, and subordinated the Shiva Uranium board’s correctly taken decision to an incompetent individual (Monyela) who was not entitled to act for the company on his own.
Tayob and Januarie argue that Monyela, as a junior business rescue practitioner, was only competent to manage Shiva Uranium’s affairs if assisted by a senior business rescue practitioner.
They also state that Mosopa erred in approving Damons’ appointment when Shiva Uranium, through its directors, did not make the appointment.
According to Tayob and Januarie, Shiva Uranium appointed them without the need for approval by the business rescue practitioners.
“It is submitted that this is a matter that remains within the directors’ exclusive competence. Their appointment is lawful - and supported by the company,” reads Tayob’s affidavit.
The deposed business rescue practitioners say the tribunal gave its sanction to the illegal appointment of Damons. The sale at Shiva Uranium is not the first time assets belonging to companies owned by the controversial family have been auctioned off.
In November, the property of the newspaper and 24-hour news television formerly known as The New Age and ANN7, respectively, were sold for R29.5 million.
The auctioneers had been expecting the buildings to fetch between R30m and R35m.
Former government spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi bought The New Age and ANN7 in 2017 and renamed them outlets Afro Voice and Afro Worldview, but were both shut down last year.
Monyela refused to comment on the matter on Saturday, saying he was on holiday.