Bhana family to pay R6m to Aurora liquidators

Johannesburg - Six members of South Africa’s Bhana family, who were involved in the collapse of Aurora Empowerment Systems, have agreed to pay the company’s liquidators about R6m, according to labour group Solidarity.

Solly Bhana, his son Fazel as well as four family members will make the payment, the union said in a statement Monday. The settlement relates to a claim brought against the Bhana family and is separate from the main case brought against the Aurora operators.

The agreement doesn’t include Khulubuse Zuma and Zondwa Mandela, who were also found liable for the company’s failure. Khulubuse is a nephew of President Jacob Zuma and Zondwa is a grandson of Nelson Mandela.

READ: Zuma's nephew, other Aurora directors lose court bid

Aurora, which was operated by Zuma, Mandela and the Bhanas, fraudulently misrepresented its ability to pay for the Pamodzi Gold mines near Johannesburg in 2009 when the previous owner was placed under provisional liquidation, Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann ruled in June.

In the following two years, mine shafts were destroyed, equipment stolen and 5 000 jobs lost, he said.

READ: Union hopes for sequestration of Aurora directors

David Swartz, a lawyer for the Bhana family, confirmed the agreement on Monday. “It’s a good settlement,” he said.

While it brings an end to the claim against the family, the main Aurora case, which involves Solly and Fazel Bhana continues, said Swartz, who also represents Zondwa Mandela.

Supreme Court

Khulubuse Zuma was not a party to the matter settled by the Bhanas, said his spokesman, Vuyo Mkhize.

Mandela, the Bhanas and their partner Thulani Ngubane were found to be personally liable for claims proven by the liquidators, the judge ruled.

Zuma, who wasn’t involved in the bid, is liable for losses incurred after December 1, 2009, the judge said.

Zuma, Mandela and three of their three partners lost an appeal in September. At the time, Solidarity, which represents workers at the mines, said they may be liable for R1.7bn.

The Aurora operators have asked the Supreme Court whether they can appeal Bertelsmann’s judgment.

The agreement “with the Bhanas is just a consequence of many judicial processes currently running,” Gideon du Plessis, Solidarity’s general secretary, said in the statement.

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