Unions welcome court action against Zuma’s nephewStaff Reporter
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has welcomed the dismissal of an urgent application by Khulubuse Zuma to have claims of over R1,5 billion against Aurora Empowerment Systems set aside.
The Pretoria High Court dismissed the application by the businessman, who is President Jacob Zuma’s cousin, on Tuesday.
“The application is dismissed with costs,” ruled Judge Eberhardt Bertelsmann, who said Zuma’s interests were not directly affected.
The case will now be heard on March 23.
In 2009, liquidators appointed Aurora to manage two mines formerly owned by Pamodzi in Springs and Orkney after the company went bankrupt.
COSATU spokesman, Patrick Craven, accused Aurora Mine allegedly stripped the mines of infrastructure and left hundreds of workers without pay.
He said the workers had been struggling to survive and relied on handouts since the demise of Aurora Mine.
“COSATU was concerned that Zuma’s court bid could have even further delayed efforts by liquidators to hold the directors of Aurora responsible for the non-payment of workers and the alleged asset-stripping,” Craven said.
The liquidators’ lawyers described Zuma’s application as a ploy to stop the court hearing the application by the liquidators that seeks to hold him and other directors personally liable for the R1,7 billion.
“The directors did everything possible to try to stonewall, delay and renege on their responsibility to pay workers at the mines and to deprive them of what is clearly due to them,” said Craven.
National Union of Mineworkers Regional Secretary, Joseph Monisetse, said the application was disturbing because it sought to postpone again the interests of workers who had been waiting for almost five years now.
Instead of Aurora paying workers, they are paying lawyers to defend themselves against paying the poor workers, he argued.
The judgement, he said, had paved the way for their ‘victory’ on March 23.
“We’re prepared to see that the outcome will be positive so that workers who have been suffering from almost five years now can receive their dues which are held by Aurora,” Monisetse said.
– CAJ News
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