Unions call for the removal of Pamodzi liquidator

2010-11-15 15:10

Trade Union Solidarity and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) today called for the removal of Pamodzi Gold liquidator Enver Motala “because he serves no purpose”.

Solidarity and NUM announced that they had joined forces “in order to combat slavery” occurring at the Aurora Orkney and Grootvlei mines.

“It cannot be right that the Aurora directors continue to live a high exotic life when it has turned poor workers into beggars,” said NUM’s general secretary, Frans Baleni.

“We can’t trust them anymore.”

The unions were contemplating taking mining company Aurora Empowerment Systems to the Labour Court for outstanding wages and statutory deductions such as pension fund contributions, UIF and PAYE, that were allegedly never transferred to the respective institutions.

Aurora directors include Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Zondwa, and President Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse.

“The Master of the High Court must also urgently investigate the dealings of certain liquidators ... investigate the effective functioning of the team of liquidators ... and also establish which liquidators gave permission to Aurora to sell off and remove some of the assets of the mine,” said Solidarity deputy general secretary Gideon du Plessis.

Baleni appealed to the ANC, Cosatu affiliates and business leaders to make a contribution of any kind to assist these workers, “otherwise, it is going to be another dry and black Christmas”.

Both unions claim that a number of workers had not been paid up till “today”.

Aurora has made a bid to buy Pamodzi gold mine, which has been in financial difficulty since 2008.

Reports of assets stripping and looting suggest that liquidators failed dismally to make any decisive intervention.

Baleni also accused Aurora of “being liars”, saying that they had confessed at NUM offices to certain discrepancies.

Du Plessis said unions were in the process of finding out the actual number of workers affected, adding that about R12 million was outstanding in wages.

“The NPA needs to investigate this matter,” he said.

“These employees are nearing their third Christmas. Before the end of the year, these workers must put something on their plate,” Baleni said.

Motala said that the call for him to be removed was “unwarranted and unjustified”.

“I am but just one joint provisional liquidator.There are six appointed liquidators in this estate and they take decisions jointly. My singling out is unwarranted and unjustified,” Motala said, adding that he was mandated as spokesman for
the joint liquidators, for purposes of the media, and that did not make him “lead liquidator”, as reports suggested.

“There is no such thing as lead liquidator.

“Liquidators have to act and be guided on the instruction of creditors, in this instances, the choice of Aurora was that of the major secured creditors, namely UniCredit Bank on Grootvlei and the IDC on Orkney. It is not a decision that the liquidator themselves took; it’s a decision taken in consultation with major secure creditors, and we followed their wishes and instructions,” he said.

He said if Aurora did not find funding by mid-December, liquidators were instructed to terminate their bid.

A decision for an extension had also not yet been granted, Motala said.

Aurora directors were not immediately available for comment.

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