Khulubuse Zuma and Co lose appeal, must pay Aurora workers

Attempts by five directors of mining company Aurora Empowerment systems to appeal a decision denying them leave to appeal a high court judgement that they be held personally liable for damages of R1.5-billion was dismissed in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein, union Solidarity said on Thursday.

The trade union’s secretary Gideon du Plessis said the SCA ruling signaled the end of five years of “evading and frustrating the justice system”, and added that the Aurora directors now have to cough up for damages and the outstanding salaries of 5 000 workers at Pamodzi Gold mine.

“Should they fail to do so, they would be sequestrated. More criminal investigations into corruption and gross mismanagement and possible prosecution will follow straight away,” Du Plessis.

“This judgment is a major victory for the 5 300 workers who have been plunged into poverty, the rule of law has also triumphed.”

The SCA judgement came after Aurora directors appealed against the high court judgment by Judge Eberhardt Bertelsmann in June last year.

Bertelsmann ruled that the directors, Khulubuse Zuma, Zondwa Mandela, Thulani Ngubani, Solly Bhana and Fazel Bhana be held personally liable for R1.5-billion damages at Pamodzi Gold mine.

Khulubuse Zuma is President Jacob Zuma’s nephew and Zondwa Mandela is the grandson of former president Nelson Mandela.

The directors’ attempts to seek leave to appeal the Bertelsmann judgement failed in September last year. They then approached the SCA.

The case was brought to court by Pamodzi liquidators against the directors of Aurora, whom they accused of stripping assets of the liquidated Pamodzi Gold’s mines in Gauteng and North West.

The liquidators were claiming for damages on behalf of workers and other debtors who were affected by the asset stripping of the mines.

In 2009, Aurora was given permission to operate two Pamodzi mines in Gauteng and the North West, but after the company failed to secure funding, the directors stripped assets at the mines.

Their actions were found to have led to the mining operations coming to a halt, which exacerbated the financial problems and jeopardised the jobs of 5 000 workers. – African News Agency

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