Zuma’s Nephew to Pay $1.6 Million for South Africa Mine Ruin

Updated on
  • Khulubuse Zuma settles with Aurora, Pamodzi liquidators
  • Gold mines were looted after Zuma and others took control

Khulubuse Zuma, a nephew of President Jacob Zuma, agreed to pay 23 million rand ($1.6 million) to settle a lawsuit that found him partly responsible for the destruction of gold-mining assets near Johannesburg.

Zuma has already paid 5 million rand and will settle the rest in monthly installments, trade union Solidarity said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday. The organization represents some of the 5,300 employees at the Pamodzi and Grootvlei gold mines who lost their jobs when the assets were ransacked after Aurora Empowerment Systems took control in 2009.

Zuma was chairman of Aurora and was found jointly liable for all losses after Dec. 1, 2009, by a High Court in June last year. At the time, he claimed he didn’t have an executive or operational role in the business. The liquidators of Pamodzi, who brought the suit against Zuma, are also seeking damages from Zondwa Mandela, a grandson of Nelson Mandela, and members of the Bhana family who were also involved in running Aurora.

Through Aurora, Zuma and Mandela gained control of the Pamodzi mines when its previous owner was placed under provisional liquidation. When Aurora failed to raise the required funds to get the mines up and running, they fell into disrepair and were ravaged by illegal miners. The assets were valued at about 1.7 billion rand, according to Solidarity.

Court Order

“Righteousness has at last happened and Zuma’s and the Bhanas’ moment of penance has arrived,” Gideon du Plessis, general secretary of Solidarity, said in the statement.

The Bhanas have so far failed to comply with an agreement to pay 5.9 million rand in damages and so the North Gauteng High Court on Wednesday issued a sequestration order, which allows the funds to be raised from a debtor’s assets, Solidarity said.

Solly Bhana has already paid 2.5 million rand and an offer of a further 100,000 rand a month was rejected by the Pamodzi liquidators, he said in a phone interview Wednesday. The sequestration order is provisional and the Bhanas intend to appeal it, he said.

An application to liquidate the assets of Zondwa Mandela and others involved in the case will be brought in due course, Solidarity said.

Vuyo Mkhize, a spokesman for Zuma, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Etienne van der Merwe, who represents Mandela and the Bhanas in the main case but not the sequestration orders, said he’s awaiting a court process for liquidators to prove their damages. Solidarity claims the losses amount to 1.7 billion rand.