Controversial businessman and nephew of former president Jacob Zuma, Khulubuse Zuma. Picture: AFP/MUJAHID SAFODIEN
Controversial businessman and nephew of former president Jacob Zuma, Khulubuse Zuma. Picture: AFP/MUJAHID SAFODIEN

Controversial businessman and former president Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, has been provisionally sequestrated after failing to pay the liquidators of Aurora Empowerment Systems.

On Wednesday, the Durban high court ordered Zuma’s  provisional liquidation. The interim order means that if he is unable to pay what is owed before the court return date of March 4, the final sequestration order will be issued.

Gideon du Plessis, general secretary of trade federation Solidarity, said Zuma is unlikely to come up with the money considering that he has been unable to pay R13m outstanding from a repayment agreement he made with the liquidators in 2016. As well as that agreement, Zuma is liable for R1.4bn.

Aurora acquired Pamodzi Gold’s East Rand and Orkney operations in 2009 after Pamodzi was placed under provisional liquidation, but funding for the acquisition never materialised.

In the interim, Zuma and other directors — Thulani Ngubane; Solly and Fazel Bhana; and Zondwa Mandela, grandson of the late Nelson Mandela — allowed the the operations to fall into disrepair and failed to pay workers’ salaries. In 2010, the operations were closed down and the company was put into liquidation again.

Du Plessis said the sequestration application for Zondwa  Mandela will be heard next month and and the sequestration applications against the Bhanas is in the process of being finalised.

He said the sequestration means  justice will now prevail for the 5,300 employees who lost their jobs. “Zuma’s possessions will be auctioned off and, hopefully, the proceeds of the auction can be used to pay some of the former Aurora employees’ outstanding salaries.” 

The sequestration will also open the way for a full investigation into Zuma’s business interests dating back to September 2009. “Hopefully, this investigation will reveal what happened to the approximately R170m that disappeared at the mines, and also what Zuma’s business interests in Africa were or are,” said Du Plessis. The investigation will also determine whether Zuma has any interests in Dubai.

Business Day was not able to reach Zuma on three different cellphone numbers.

steynl@businesslive.co.za