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Mining magnate closes shop in SA

Jun 26 2011 11:04 Loyiso Sidimba

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Johannesburg - Controversial mining magnate Mzi Khumalo is closing shop in South Africa.

It emerged this week that Khumalo’s main corporate entity, Metallon, was going into final liquidation.

Once described as the most powerful black businessman in South Africa, Khumalo’s gold mining activities are now centred in Zimbabwe.

Khumalo, a former business partner of Brett Kebble before they fell out, famously rejected the title of “empowerment businessman”.

The winding up of his companies was revealed in court papers filed at the South Gauteng High Court involving a claim of R1.3m  against him by a charter aircraft company.

Lanseria-based Execujet Flight Operations brought the court ­challenge against Khumalo after he failed to settle the bill for luxury charter flights despite promising to do so.

Khumalo, a former political prisoner who spent 12 years on Robben Island for his activities as an Umkhonto weSizwe operative, only paid R200 000 through one of his companies, Mawenzi Resources and Finance.

Acting Judge Peter Levenberg found that Khumalo had filed an affidavit in a separate liquidation application brought by Execujet against his gold mining company, Metallon; undertaking to pay the debt in order to stop the application.

“It is plain that Khumalo had no intention of honouring that undertaking,” Levenberg said in his judgment this week.

The court described Khumalo’s offer to pay as “too vague to be enforceable”.

Levenberg found the undertaking was “not an undertaking to pay the entire amount” but “to pay an unspecified number of instalments in unspecified amounts... It is not clear when payments were to commence”, the judge said.

Execujet lost in court because it had brought the court challenge against Khumalo in his personal capacity while he had undertaken the flights on Metallon’s behalf.

In court papers Khumalo denied he owed money to Execujet.

However, Metallon opposed its ­liquidation brought by Execujet, ­saying Execujet had provided chartered flights to Khumalo in his ­personal ­capacity.

Levenberg lashed out at both ­parties, saying that "neither has been able to ­articulate its case in the affidavits in a manner that is juristically ­appropriate".

In a separate winding-up application Khumalo said he was the true debtor, according to court papers, while Execujet insisted its claim was against Metallon and not Khumalo.

Levenberg described their change of positions as "anomalies'.

Khumalo’s Metallon Hotels and Leisure was liquidated in March last year after it failed to settle a R27m debt it owed construction ­company Stefanutti Stocks.

Khumalo’s lawyer, Tayob Kamdar, said his client had offered to pay Execujet but that the charter airline company “didn’t want the money”.

He said Execujet had waived its right to claim against Khumalo and Metallon was now going into final ­liquidation.
The company had become ­dormant and was not trading, ­according to Kamdar.

Execujet’s lawyers failed to respond to City Press's questions.

- City Press

For more business news, go to www.citypress.co.za/Business.

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