Court orders Aurora’s Zuma to pay R10m

[] — A HIGH court judge in Pretoria on Thursday granted default judgment against the chairperson of liquidated Aurora Empowerment Systems, Khulubuse Zuma, for the payment of more than R10m.

Judge Ben du Plessis granted the order after security services company Protea Coin Group brought the application, after the mining company failed to follow through on a settlement agreement.

Apart from being ordered to pay R10,034,198 to Protea, Zuma – who is the nephew of President Jacob Zuma – was also ordered to pay 15.5% interest on the amount dating back to November 24 2010.

He was further ordered to pay the costs of the application on an attorney and client scale.

According to court papers, Protea launched an application for Aurora Empowerment System’s liquidation in May 2010, but entered into a settlement agreement with Aurora in July the same year.

In terms of the settlement, Aurora agreed to pay Protea R250,000 in July 2010, a further R1m in August 2010 and the balance of over R11.1m in September 2010.

Zuma also undertook to furnish Protea with a personal suretyship for Aurora’s indebtedness in favour of Protea – which he eventually did in October 2010.

The terms included that the surety would remain in force until such time as all of Aurora’s obligations towards Protea had been met.

Protea applied for judgment against Zuma when the company failed to pay the agreed amount of R1m in August 2010 or the rest of the agreed amount.

Aurora Empowerment Systems was finally liquidated in October last year after the high court in Pretoria ratified a R9m liquidation application by one of its contractors, Copper Eagle.

Aurora, whose directors include former President Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa Mandela, was, as preferred bidder, appointed to take over the management of two of Pamodzi’s gold mines in Gauteng and the North West after that company was liquidated in 2009.

Aurora was removed after the directors were accused of destroying the infrastructure at the mines and causing the loss of more than 5,300 jobs.

A liquidation hearing is presently pending before the Master of the High Court into Pamodzi’s liquidation, including the role played by Aurora.