Zuma not to blame for mineworkers' plight

By Drum Digital
05 March 2015

Khulubuse Zuma on Thursday bemoaned statements by Cosatu and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) blaming him for the plight of Pamodzi Gold's former mineworkers.

"The attack on Zuma by the Cosatu and NUM leadership is rendered even more bizarre by the fact that Zuma is not aware of any claim that has been lodged against Aurora on behalf of NUM members, whether in relation to unpaid salaries or any other entitlement," his spokesman Vuyo Mkhize said in a statement.  

"He [Zuma] has instructed his lawyers to explore all available legal avenues to ensure that his constitutional rights are protected."

Earlier this week, an urgent application by Zuma to have claims of over R1.5 billion against Aurora Empowerment Systems, of which he is a director, set aside was dismissed by the High Court in Pretoria.

Judge Eberhardt Bertelsmann earlier on Tuesday dismissed the application with costs. He found that Zuma's interests were not directly affected.

Aurora's liquidators want to go to court to hold the company's directors responsible after they allegedly stripped the assets of the liquidated Pamodzi Gold's mines in Springs, Gauteng, and Orkney, North West. The case is due to be heard on March 23.

In 2009, Aurora was appointed by liquidators to manage Pamodzi's mines in Springs and Orkney after the company went bankrupt. Aurora allegedly stripped the mines of infrastructure and left its employees without pay and surviving on handouts.

Mkhize on Thursday said Zuma believed he would not get a fair trial.

"The net effect of this is that Zuma is expected to appear before court on 23 March 2015 to face a demand that he pays upwards of R1.5 billion to settle a 'debt' whose basis has never been outlined and in circumstances where he will not be allowed to question its very existence or validity.

"Naturally, Zuma believes that this state of affairs offends the principles of natural justice and the right to a fair trial," he said.

Mkhize denied that Zuma had ever been involved in any fraud, theft or asset-stripping and was not aware of any such acts by his Aurora co-principals.

He said Zuma never received any benefit from the conduct of Aurora's business. Zuma is President Jacob Zuma's nephew.

According to Mkhize, Zuma used over R30 million of his own money to pay Pamodzi's workers and service providers to try and save the Aurora transaction.

"In closing, Zuma would like the media to respect his decision not to issue any further statements on this matter until after the conclusion of all proceedings that are currently pending before court."

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