Zuma, Mandela Heirs Lose Appeal Bid for $113 Million Mine Ruin

  • Supreme Court of Appeal dismisses Aurora directors' case
  • 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 business partners had their case dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal Thursday after an earlier ruling held them responsible for the destruction of gold-mining assets near Johannesburg, labor union Solidarity said.

Khulubuse Zuma and Zondwa Mandela had taken their case to the SCA after Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann of the High Court in Pretoria ruled last year they were “indisputably reckless” in their management of Aurora Empowerment Systems and the five men were personally liable for the company’s failure. This may result in a bill of 1.7 billion rand ($113 million), according to Solidarity.

“This judgment is a major victory for the 5,300 workers who have been innocently plunged into poverty, and the rule of law has also triumphed,” Solidarity General Secretary Gideon du Plessis said in an e-mailed statement.

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 and equipment stolen, he said.

Vuyo Mkhize, a spokesman for Zuma, and David Swartz, a lawyer for Mandela and the other three men, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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