Aurora was not given preference because of its directors – Motala

2011-05-30 14:25

Aurora Empower Systems was never given preference because of its political connections, said axed Pamodzi Gold liquidator Enver Motala.

“There is simply no truth to this,” Motala said in a 14-page media statement, in which he again vowed to challenge his dismissal from the case.

Days after Motala and another joint liquidator, Gavin Gainsford, were removed from the matter, Aurora was given its marching orders by the four remaining liquidators.

Motala maintained that there was no truth to allegations that Aurora was kept on as the preferred bidder for the financially stricken Pamodzi Gold mines just because of the identities of its directors.

Aurora is run by President Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, Zuma’s legal adviser, Michael Hulley, and former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Zondwa Mandela.

This was just coincidence, said Motala.

“Liquidators are, by law, required to act without fear or favour and in the best interests of the creditors of liquidated estates.

“In these estates, we have [done] just that under extremely difficult circumstances, notwithstanding the complexity of these estates.”

Business Day reported today that Aurora’s removal had sparked fresh interest from other potential buyers.

Trade unions Solidarity and the National Union of Mineworkers welcomed Aurora’s removal.

It was told to vacate the mines’ premises by today.

Motala and Gainsford were part of a group of six liquidators jointly appointed to manage the assets of Pamodzi Gold mines in Springs on the East Rand and Orkney in North West.

The justice department fired the pair to “safeguard the integrity of the liquidation process”, its spokesman Tlali Tlali said last week.

Cosatu today welcomed the decision to remove Aurora.

“Cosatu demands that the government investigate both Aurora and the dismissed liquidators,” it said in a statement.

“The investigators must look into allegations that the company, with the connivance of the liquidators, was asset-stripping the mines by looting and selling off equipment, and find out whether the liquidators received kickbacks for turning a blind eye to this.

“They must also look into the numerous breaches of the labour laws in the way the company treated their workers,” said Cosatu.

The four remaining liquidators are Johan Engelbrecht of Icon Insolvency, Allan Pellow of Westrust, Barend Petersen of De Beers Consolidated Mines and Deon Botha of Corporate Liquidation.

The saga has dragged on since Pamodzi went into liquidation in 2009, after which the liquidators accepted a R600 million bid by Aurora for the mines.

However, mineworkers were left unpaid and reports emerged of the mines’ assets being stripped, a claim that was denied by Motala.

Solidarity served a liquidation application amounting to R3.1 million on Aurora earlier this year to force the mining company to pay outstanding salaries or close its doors.

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