The portfolio committee on mineral resources on Wednesday welcomed reports that 300 former workers at the defunct Aurora mine would get payouts but stressed that the vast majority would go empty-handed.
“The chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources, Mr Sahlulele Luzipo, has expressed mixed feelings about the latest developments with regards to former employees of Aurora mine,” the committee said in a statement.
“Mr Luzipo said although it is worth celebrating that 300 employees will finally get their long-overdue salaries, it is also demoralising to note that the majority of workers will not be paid, as their claims were unsuccessful.”
Aurora employed roughly 5,300 miners before disastrous mismanagement led to its liquidation in October 2010.
Lupizo added that it was “even more disheartening” that many former Aurora workers died while waiting in vain to be paid.
Solidarity voiced similar sentiments on Monday when it announced that the 300 former miners would receive a partial payout of their overdue salaries after their settlement claims were accepted.
The trade union’s general secretary Gideon du Plessis said there would be another opportunity for former employees to submit claims before the end of September.
He added that a court application would be filed in September to sequestrate all the directors, given that they had all failed to comply with previous payment directives.
“After eight years of hardship, the first payments and sequestration of the Aurora directors are a victory for justice for every employee, but the pain and suffering has been so great that it is a hollow victory,” Du Plessis said.
The union has assisted workers in an eight-year legal battle with the mine’s former directors, who included Khulubuse Zuma, former president Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Zondwa Mandela, former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Thulani Ngubani, Solly Bhana and Fazel Bhana.
The businessmen managed to drag out legal procedures for years.
But in June 2015 the North Gauteng High Court held that they were accountable in their personal capacity for the collapse of the mine.
The group of businessmen stood accused of stripping the mine of R1.7 billion in assets and paying R35 million to family members. This was reported as loan repayments, in the absence of any proof of loans paid to them.
Du Plessis recalled that numerous agreements were reached with Aurora’s directors during the years to pay outstanding salaries but they failed to honour any of these.
– African News Agency (ANA)