Pamodzi: End in sight

Johannesburg - Negotiations to sell Grootvlei mine on the East Rand are in the final stages, the joint provisional liquidators of the Pamodzi group said on Wednesday.

"(The) provisional liquidators would like to stress that they have taken all reasonable steps, given the problems they have faced in the administration of this estate, to wind up the affairs of the Pamodzi Group of Companies as soon as possible," spokesperson Johan Engelbrecht said in a statement.

He said the interests of mine workers were paramount to the liquidators' planning.

A legal team was working "literally around the clock" to try and recoup money for the workers, who had not been paid.

The sale would also help to curb illegal mining activities, as the new owner might implement further measures to safeguard the mine shafts, Engelbrecht said.

The deaths of about 20 illegal mineworkers in a rockfall at the closed Gravelotte gold mine on Thursday "did not take place on any of the areas under the control or in the possession of the joint provisional liquidators of Pamodzi," he said.

"We are at our wits-end, however, as to how to stem this problem in our area of control, and call upon all persons to refrain from entering dangerous abandoned mine shafts for their own safety."

Solidarity deputy general secretary Gideon du Plessis commended the liquidators and said the trade union hoped the transaction would be concluded soon.

"The end of the Pamodzi and Aurora crisis may finally be in sight if the Pamodzi liquidators succeed in selling the Grootvlei mine... and the Orkney mine...

"The fight will, however, only be over when a new buyer can re-employ the former Aurora employees and a court application in terms of section 424 of the Companies Act is brought against the Aurora directors," he said.

Workers at the North West mine, which Aurora took over from Pamodzi Gold, were told on Monday that Aurora had ignored a high court order to pay them R4.3m.

Disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers announced that it would donate food parcels to the mineworkers and to their families.

Du Plessis said the mineral resources department regarded the fight against illegal mining as a priority and commended its work in combating it.

It was difficult to police illegal mining due to the large number of mines in South Africa, he said.

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