Zuma, Mandela Heirs Lose Appeal Bid for $130 Million Mine Ruin

  • Aurora directors were seeking leave to appeal June ruling
  • Court ruled directors responsible for destruction of assets

A nephew of South African President Jacob Zuma, a grandson of Nelson Mandela and three of their partners lost their application Friday to appeal an earlier court ruling that held them responsible for the destruction of gold-mining assets near Johannesburg.

Khulubuse Zuma and Zondwa Mandela asked Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann in the High Court in Pretoria if they could appeal his decision in June that they were “indisputably reckless” in their management of Aurora Empowerment Systems. Bertelsmann said the five men were personally liable for the company’s failure. This may result in a bill of 1.7 billion rand ($130 million), according to Solidarity, a trade union.

The company fraudulently misrepresented Aurora’s ability to pay for the Pamodzi Gold Ltd. mines near Johannesburg in 2009 when its previous owner was placed under provisional liquidation, the judge said in June. In the following two years, mine shafts were destroyed, equipment stolen and 5,000 jobs lost, he said.

Vuyo Mkhize, a spokesman for Zuma, and Etienne van der Merwe, a lawyer for Mandela and the other three men, said they will now petition the Supreme Court of Appeal to reconsider the case.

“Justice has been done today for hundreds of Aurora employees and this ruling is an indication that others involved in this case will not be able to hide from the law,” Gideon du Plessis, general secretary of Solidarity, said in a statement.

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