NUM, Parly committee welcome Aurora judgment | Fin24
 
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NUM, Parly committee welcome Aurora judgment

Jun 25 2015 18:56

Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) welcomes the judgement by the North Gauteng High Court which ruled that directors of Aurora Empowerment Systems and their business associates must pay up.

"As the NUM, we totally agree with Judge Bertelsmann who delivered this scathing judgement that  Aurora directors, Khulubuse Zuma, Zondwa Mandela, Thulani Ngubane and their business associates Solly and Faizel Bhana, should be made to pay for all losses to the Pamodzi estate in their personal capacity," NUM said in a statement on Thursday.

The union is, however, worried that their lawyers have indicated that they are going to appeal the judgement and this might cause another delay.

"We have instructed our lawyers to meet the liquidators and chart the way forward to demand the payment for the workers  as soon as possible," said NUM.

"The judgement today is a victory for these poor mineworkers. Thousands of these workers are trapped in abject  poverty, they have no food, have no running water and some of those workers are sick and others have passed on due to stress."

The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources also welcomed what it called a milestone judgment handed down by the High Court in Pretoria against the Aurora Empowerment Systems directors.

The judgment found that they were liable for damages of stripping the assets of the liquidated Pamodzi Gold’s mines in Gauteng and North West, leading to more than 5 000 workers losing their jobs as well as retirement benefits.
 
Committee chairperson Sahlulele Luzipo said, although he understands that the directors have a right to recourse in the form of a Constitutional Court appeal, he hopes the judgment brought to end a protracted court battle.

He said the employers were morally required to enter into bona fide relationships with the workers, whereby they need to open negotiation channels in order to find amicable solutions for similar situations.   
 
“We do not think that this matter was supposed to be a subject of the courts in the first place. There are over 5 000 former mine workers who were left destitute and our view has always been that this matter could have been handled by way of negotiations between the two parties to find an out-of-court settlement,” said Luzipo.
 
He said the court ruling reminded him of the committee meeting that took place on November 5 2014 in which the chief master of the High Court, together with the attorney for the provisional liquidators, briefed the committee on the progress regarding the Aurora matter.
 
In that meeting, the committee appealed to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to ensure stringent checks and balances before issuing mining licences. The DMR is still to report back to the committee on this matter, as well as to present a consolidated liquidators’ list that would have been shared with the chief master of the High Court.

aurora  |  mining
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