Aurora: Khulubuse Zuma ‘exonerated’

2015-02-15 15:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A“private and confidential” report into the Aurora mining debacle has largely exonerated Khulubuse Zuma, saying he “trusted his associates” – which explains his laissez faire approach and lack of control – and “was allegedly also defrauded and lost millions of his personal wealth”.

The report recommends the National Director of Public Prosecutions pursue criminal charges against Aurora director Zondwa Mandela and Pamodzi liquidator Enver Motala, among others.

But the report, authored by Advocate Wayne Gibbs, doesn’t absolve Zuma of financial liability for the disaster that destroyed two gold mines and cost about 5?300 people their jobs.

Gibbs was appointed as commissioner of a 417 inquiry to investigate the collapse of the two Pamodzi mines and to apportion blame for the disaster.

“Although one has sympathy with Zuma?…?this does not exonerate him from his statutory duty,” his report says.

“To my mind, he was negligent in his approach” and the company suffered damages, “which could have been avoided had Zuma personally kept an eye on the management of the company”.

On Thursday, the North Gauteng High Court granted Zuma’s request for a copy of the secret report. However, the master’s office declined to make the report public, saying the court had only ordered that copies be provided to Zuma and the liquidators. But City Press has obtained a leaked copy of the report.

Zuma testified in 2011 that despite being the chair of Aurora, he was “not involved in a single executive decision” of the company and was not informed about what was really happening.

Zuma testified that when he demanded answers, he was told “stories”.

“I don’t know whether it is the truth, because if it was the truth then the company wouldn’t have gone down,” he told the inquiry. “The media told me everything that was going on in my company.”

Zuma and his co-directors will return to court next month when the liquidators of Pamodzi Gold will seek to hold them liable for R1.5?billion in damages under section 424 of the Companies Act.

On Friday, Zuma’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mkhize, said although they had not yet seen the report, Zuma was confident the court would excuse him from any liability in the R1.5?billion claim.

“The advice he has received from his lawyers is that he is on solid ground when it comes to the question of his responsibilities as a director, the remaining point the liquidators are hoping to nail him on,” Mkhize said.

Rudolph du Plessis, a partner at Bowman Gilfillan, told City Press that even if a director was unaware of what was happening in the company, they could still be held financially liable under the Companies Act.

“Whether or not [a director] is directly involved in the wrongdoing is irrelevant,” Du Plessis said. “If you sit on the board but you’re simply not interested or look the other way and don’t know what is going on, certainly you would be in breach of your duty to act with care, skill and diligence.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.