Zuma lawyer could get sued over Aurora

Michael Hulley.
Michael Hulley.

Cape Town – Trade union Solidarity said the guilty verdict against Aurora on Thursday could pave the way for civil charges to be brought against Michael Hulley, President Jacob Zuma’s legal adviser.

Solidarity praised the judgment of the High Court in Pretoria, which found the directors of Aurora Empowerment Systems, including President Jacob Zuma's nephew Khulubuse Zuma and former president Nelson Mandela's grandson Zondwa Mandela, guilty of stripping the assets of the liquidated Pamodzi Gold's mines.

“The ruling paves the way for civil charges to be brought against Michael Hulley, President Jacob Zuma’s legal adviser, who had been involved in the controversial company at that time,” Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis said in a statement on Thursday.

“Until now, he has argued that he could not be held liable for the actions of the Aurora directors,” said Du Plessis.

Justice for thousands

“The court ruling in terms of which several directors of Aurora Empowerment Systems are held accountable for damages due to the mismanagement of two Pamodzi mines finally brings justice for thousands of former Pamodzi employees,” he said.

In terms of the ruling Zuma, Mandela, Solly and Fazel Bhana as well as Thulani Ngubani are jointly and severally held liable for hundreds of millions of rands in damages, Solidarity said.

If they do not have the financial ability to pay these damages, an application for sequestration could be brought against them after which the court may give instruction for the seizure of their assets.

Aurora was liquidated in October 2011. The directors were accused of stripping the assets of the liquidated Pamodzi Gold mines in Springs, Gauteng, and Orkney, North West. They were also accused of causing the loss of more than 5 300 jobs.

Aurora was appointed to take over the management of two of Pamodzi Gold's mines in Gauteng and the North West after that company was liquidated in 2009.

'Rule of law has been restored'

“We are pleased with the judgment and our trust in the rule of law has been restored,” Du Plessis said.

“Today proved that those with strong political ties are indeed not above the law.

“We are, however, particularly grateful for the sake of the former Aurora workers. While nothing can compensate them for the losses they have suffered, and although further legal processes have to follow before the money can be collected, this judgment at least brought justice for them.

“Furthermore, another court application against the controversial Bhana family for other irregularities still has to be heard,” he said.

Du Plessis added that the Aurora case will be remembered for a long time as one of the biggest scandals in South African mining history.

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