Workers at the Gupta-owned Shiva mine near Hartbeesfontein. File photo: THE TIMES
Workers at the Gupta-owned Shiva mine near Hartbeesfontein. File photo: THE TIMES

It appeared the business rescue of the Guptas’ embattled Shiva Uranium could finally proceed when, last week,   the Companies Tribunal gave the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) five days to comply with an order that would provide certainty over who the rightful business rescue practitioners are.

But six working days have passed with no action from the CIPC as the rescue practitioners continue their battles in court.

The practitioners on the losing side of the tribunal decision have approached the Pretoria High Court to interdict the CIPC from complying with the tribunal’s decision while they seek a review of it. The case will be heard on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the embattled Shiva Uranium, which stopped operating in July and has not paid workers since, is struggling to hang on to essential service providers such as security, the absence of which would cause the assets to fall into disrepair. Now, without the CIPC complying with orders, a rescue plan cannot continue.

In February, Shiva and eight other Gupta-linked entities were placed into business rescue, a provision in law for the rehabilitation of distressed companies.

Two rescue practitioners stepped down in June and were replaced by Cloete Murray and Christopher Monyela. In September Murray resigned, but before his exit, he and Monyela jointly appointed a replacement, Juanito Damons.

The CIPC refused to process the filing, citing a potential conflict and went on to accept a separate filing from the Shiva board to appoint two new practitioners — Mahier Tayob and Eugene Januarie.

Unable to move the CIPC, Monyela took the issue to the tribunal, which ruled in his favour last Tuesday and ordered the commission to process within five days the filing of Damons’s appointment, as well as the form challenging the appointments of Tayob and Januarie.  

But two days later Tayob and Januarie approached the court to interdict the CIPC from implementing the decision, pending a review of the decision or alternatively a declaratory order that they are the lawful practitioners.

Monyela’s attorney, Bouwer van Niekerk, said the application to the high court does not give the CIPC a basis to ignore the tribunal’s orders.

The tribunal did not respond to questions.

steynl@businesslive.co.za