Johannesburg - “Liquidations have been weaponised in South Africa.”
This was a tweet from forensic investigator Chad Thomas a few weeks ago.
It appears that there may be a war on liquidators, as evidenced by the shooting of Cloete, 57, and his son Thomas Murray, 28, and the attempted hit on Advocate Vaughn Victor.
The Murrays were involved in some of South Africa’s most contentious liquidations, including Bosasa, which was involved in countless allegations of state capture; and Victor has been involved in investigating the international cryptocurrency scheme Mirror Trading International and is at the forefront of the current liquidation into Forever Diamonds and Gold.
Following the assassination of the Murrays, it came to light that there were serious issues playing out between the liquidators themselves.
A recording was aired on Carte Blanche between two liquidators, Johann Engelbrecht and Karen Keevy. The recording revealed that liquidators were seemingly at war with one another.
Normal members of the public have borne the brunt of liquidations, especially employees of companies under liquidation, such as in the Aurora mining case where employees took their own lives during and after the liquidation of the holding company, Pamodzi Gold.
More recently, the liquidation of the well-known Arthur Kaplan Jewellers has brought liquidations back into the spotlight.
This liquidation process has led to allegations being made by the liquidator, Laila Motala, against the former director of Arthur Kaplan, Hoosein Mohamed, as well as counter-allegations against Motala being made by Mohamed.
Mohamed, who has been in custody since June 1, 2023, was accused by liquidator Motala, among other things, of assaulting her and pointing a firearm at her. Mohamed, who has denied these allegations, has countered Motala’s allegations by registering a separate criminal case alleging that Motala was fronting for her father, whom Mohamed claims was extorting him.
Motala’s father, Enver Motala, was one of South Africa’s most well-known liquidators and was also regarded by many as the most controversial liquidator South Africa has seen.
Enver was one of the liquidators for Pamodzi Gold and Retail Apparel Group, as well as for the pyramid scheme MP Finance, known to the public as Krion.
In 2003, Enver was accused by the then Deputy Director General of the Department of Justice, Mike Tshishonga, of having what was termed a “nepotistic” relationship with the then Minister of Justice, Penuell Maduna.
In 2010, Enver was arrested in his Rosebank office for allegedly assaulting an employee.
Enver appeared to want to know why Rishaad Moosa, then a trainee liquidator, was late from lunch.
Moosa said he told Enver that he had been delayed coming from a mosque, and Enver wanted to know why he had chosen to worship so far away from work.
“I told him he had no right to question me about my choice of place for prayer,” Moosa said yesterday.
“He then poked me with a finger and swore at me. When I told him I would lay charges against him if he poked me with his finger again, he got even more aggressive.”
Moosa captured the incident on his cellphone. The video clip shows Enver charging towards Moosa and screaming, “Who the f**k do you think you are?” and “I will f**k you up … I’ll kill you,” as other staff members try to pull him away.
Enver was arrested in 2004 on fraud and corruption charges. Moosa, who was treated for neck abrasions, also alleged Enver took his car keys after the assault to prevent him from seeking medical attention.
“This man is very abusive and aggressive to his employees, and he believes he can get away with anything because he is well connected,” Moosa told The Star’s sister publication, Saturday Star.
“He always threatens his employees; his former secretary was also once assaulted by him.”
Rosebank police spokesman Sergeant Bongi Mdletshe confirmed at the time that Enver had been arrested after a warrant for his arrest was issued.
Enver is said to have a personal feud with the Mohamed family.
In September 2011, Enver was removed from the panel of approved liquidators by the Master of the High Court following an investigation into his conduct, a move that was welcomed by the trade union Solidarity.
Despite being removed as a liquidator, it is alleged by Mohamed that Enver continued in the liquidation business, using his daughter as a front.
Mohamed states in an affidavit that the Motalas operated from the same address, and that it was Enver, not Laila, who allegedly corresponded directly with him during May 2023, allegedly demanding payments to be made to a company under his (Motala’s) control and purportedly in regards to the Arthur Kaplan liquidation.
These allegations are now the focus of an investigation by the SAPS.
Responding on behalf of Enver, Knowles Husain Lindsay Inc said that their client continues to practise as a liquidator, winding up those estates in which he is a liquidator and that ‘he was merely prevented from taking on new appointments’.
The firm said the client will not be intimidated by false allegations of alleged bribery, nor will he allow his daughter to be so intimidated.
He will not entertain any pressure being exerted on him by members of the Indian community.
“Our client continues to practise as a liquidator, winding up those estates in which he is a liquidator. It is not true that he was struck off as a liquidator; he was merely prevented from taking on new appointments. He does not use his daughter’s independent liquidation practise, nor is there any need for him to do so. As a liquidator, our client’s daughter has a duty to investigate matters without fear or favour and to recover assets,” the lawyers said.
Speaking on Enver’s previous run-ins with the law, the firm said: “It is public knowledge and well documented that our client had, in the 1970s during the apartheid era, as a political activist taken the blame for politically motivated reasons, for offences which he did not personally commit but had done so to facilitate the escape into exile of his late uncle, who was also a political activist.”
In 2012, Enver secretly applied for a presidential pardon for fraud and theft – apparently as part of a bid to overturn the decision by the master of the high court to blacklist him.
And he had drafted ANC heavyweights to support him, including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and party security boss Tito Maleka.
He was removed from the panel of approved liquidators in September 2011, following an investigation prompted by his conduct as lead liquidator of the Pamodzi Gold group during the Aurora Empowerment Systems debacle.
Prior to this, Motala had used his political connections and empowerment status to rapidly build one of the wealthiest and most powerful liquidation practices in South Africa. He suggests that opposition to him has arisen partly from his success and that he has earned the “enmity” of trade union Solidarity because of his role as a Pamodzi liquidator.
A key issue for the Master’s office was the fact that Motala had lied repeatedly about his 1978 conviction – under his previous name Enver Dawood – for credit card fraud.
Motala denied he was Dawood or that he knew of the credit card case, both in correspondence with the master and in evidence under oath at a hearing convened by the master.