Panel to grill Motala, others on Pamodzi liquidation process

2011-05-14 11:18

Controversial liquidator Enver ­Motala and five of his colleagues have been hauled in front of the ­Master of the Pretoria High Court to explain their roles in the bungled liquidation of two Pamodzi mines.

The joint provisional liquidators will, over the next two days, face tough questioning from a specially convened judicial panel about their role in the botched attempt to rescue the mines from bankruptcy.

Independent forensic auditor ­André Prakke said the Master has the power to remove the current liquidators – whose appointments are still provisional – or appoint additional ones to complete the process.

The summonses and exact nature of the proceedings remain shrouded in secrecy, with both the Master’s ­office and key union officials ­refusing to discuss them.

A senior union representative, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “If the matter appears in the media and it looks like inside ­information has been given, the ­liquidators could question the ­credibility of the investigation.”

The liquidators are Motala’s SBT Trust, Gavin Gainsford of KPMG, Allan Pellow of Westrust, Deon Botha of Corporate Liquidation, ­Johan Engelbrecht of Icon Insolvency and De Beers Consolidated Mines chairman Barend ­Petersen.

Last month, City Press revealed how Motala and his colleagues had pocketed about R30?million more than some experts believed was due to them when Pamodzi’s Free State mines were sold to ­Harmony Gold in 2009 as part of the liquidation process.

Pamodzi mines in Gauteng and North West were taken over by the politically connected Aurora ­Empowerment Systems in the same year.

Aurora’s chairman is Khulubuse Zuma, the nephew of President Jacob Zuma, who’s lawyer, Michael Hulley, serves on the board. The managing director is Zondwa Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson.

The drawn-out liquidation has brought suffering to thousands of mine workers over the past two years. Six months after Aurora took the helm as caretaker, the mines ground to a halt.

Workers went without salaries for months, with many forced to rely on hand-outs to survive. Unemployment insurance and pension money were reportedly misappropriated.

In March, Aurora’s bid for ownership of the two Pamodzi mines was again postponed to August and, with no firm deal in sight, tensions ­between unions, the company and liquidators are at breaking point.

Unions are incensed that Motala and the other liquidators handed control of the two Pamodzi mines to Aurora, despite the company having no mining track record.

Speaking on behalf of the joint provisional liquidators, Motala said on Friday that the inquiry was ­confidential at the instance of the Master, and that “it is neither ­competent nor proper for the joint provisional liquidators to ­comment”.

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