The days are numbered for the group of suspects who submitted 841 false affidavits to the High Court in Pretoria in an attempt to get valuable mining rights of Samancor Chrome in Limpopo Province cancelled. The DPCI and the NPA have arrested 11 accused who took part in this elaborate scheme. This including attorneys.
Had the plan worked, two companies in the mining industry, Absolute Mining and VDH Mining would have ended up with billions of rands worth of chrome mining rights. At the helm of Absolute and VDH was Nick van der Hoven, a well known player in the industry.
Both the entities were wholly owned by Bauba Resources, a JSE listed entity. At the time, Van der Hoven was the CEO of Bauba.The arrests and an expose by The Star on 19 August 2021 caused a palace revolution inside Bauba. Van der Hoven was suspended and cut all ties with Bauba, which is now owned mainly by construction giant Raubex and Pelagic Resources.
In the article The Star claimed that Van der Hoven was to be arrested for his role in the scheme, something he and his lawyers vehemently denied and threatened The Star with litigation.
We have established that on 17 January 2022 the authorities authorised a warrant for the arrest of Van der Hoven. Thus far he has managed to avoid arrest and appearing in court with the 11 other accused in the Commercial Crimes Court in Polokwane. His attorney, Mr. William Booth, has submitted representations to the Director of Public Prosecutions seeking the cancellation of his warrant and the stay of his arrest, claiming that his client had nothing to do with the unlawful scheme.
“That simply doesn't ring true” Frans Mashele, an attorney with 30 years experience said to The Star. “If the plan worked, Van der Hoven's entities would have benefitted with billions of rands of mining rights. It is a bridge too far to think 11 people would embark on this scheme on their own frolic to ultimately benefit a man and his companies, without his knowledge”.
Van der Hoven also criticised the fact that the well-known private investigator, Slang van Zyl, was involved in the investigations that exposed the scam, saying that van Zyl was an Apartheid-era operative and shouldn’t be trusted by the authorities.
He alleged that van Zyl would investigate a matter on behalf of a client to please the client and not to do justice. ‘He picked the wrong guy to accuse of such a thing. Slang, in the Caper Greef case had his own client arrested for murdering his wife after Slang uncovered this’, a member of the DPCI said on the basis of anonymity. Greef hired van Zyl in the late 90’s to investigate the murder of his wife, Estelle. Van Zyl cracked the case and had the killers and Greef arrested. Greef and his accomplices received life sentences.
In his representations Van der Hoven claims no involvement with the already arrested accused and claims that if they acted illegally, he should not be held accountable.
The investigating team at The Star obtained copies of the protracted civil litigation that Samancor only managed to win in the Constitutional Court and found affidavits saying Van der Hoven’s claim of no knowledge.
One of the accused in the current matter, Mr. Anton Ras, said that Van der Hoven instructed him to do a door-to-door survey to present community members with draft affidavits to sign. Ras claimed that Van der Hoven provided him with the draft affidavits. Another co-accused, Pretoria attorney Refentswe Beauty Monyai, deposed to an affidavit claiming that Van der Hoven personally asked her to act as a Commissioner of Oaths in this matter.
We asked for comment on the allegations, Slang van Zyl said that he cannot discuss this matter in the media as he is a witness in the matter.
The Star reached out to Van der Hoven’s attorney, William Booth, for comment but Booth and Van der Hoven did not comment. The NPA will soon decide if Van der Hoven’s representations are successful or whether the warrant of arrest is to be executed and Van der Hoven charged.