Aurora case could help workers

August 10, 2014 Posted by admin

THE long-awaited case against the politically connected directors of Aurora Empowerment Systems for damage done to Pamodzi’s mining assets is due to start on August 25, and could bring relief to 5 300 employees.

Solidarity, representing the former workers as an interested party, is seeking R1.6-billion from Aurora’s directors and owners. These include President Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma and Zondwa Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson.

The Aurora case has been held up as one of the worst examples of nepotism and value destruction.

After the company was named preferred bidder for Pamodzi’s Grootvlei and Orkney mines in 2009, it could not come up with the cash while the mine’s assets were stripped, gold was sold and the operations were run into the ground.

The main application is being brought by Pamodzi’s liquidators, Icon Insolvency, which says the directors and owners must pay back the cash they made by selling gold, equipment and scrap metal and the money from investors that wasn’t used for its stated purpose.

But Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis expects the proceedings to kick off with an application for postponement by Khulubuse Zuma’s lawyers.

He says the owners have used delaying tactics for a year and there’s no reason to expect this to change.

The main application is brought against Aurora’s directors and other people who benefitted from the Aurora debacle — Fazel Bhana, Sulliman Bhana, Feroza Bhana, Zoebaida Bhana, Shamila Essay, Mohamed Firoze Limbada, Zeenat Ebrahim Lahir and Yaseen Theba — under the Companies Act.

The liquidators are seeking to have the directors held personally responsible for damages and gross negligence.

• This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times

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