Khulubuse Zuma. Picture: ROGAN WARD
Khulubuse Zuma. Picture: ROGAN WARD

Where is Khulubuse Zuma?

That’s the question lawyers acting for the liquidators of the Pamodzi mining group are asking in their continuing attempts to recover the more than R1.4bn former president Jacob Zuma’s nephew personally owes to creditors.

A provisional liquidation order was granted against him in the Durban high court in January. 

On the return date in early March, there was no response from Zuma. Advocate Clayton Edy, for the liquidators, asked at the time that the matter be adjourned until Friday “because there are attempts to settle the matter”.

But when the matter was called before acting judge Cheryl Smart on Friday, Edy said the provisional order had been served on Zuma only via e-mail and there had been no response. “We believe he is continuously travelling abroad,” Edy said.

The judge said she wanted an affidavit detailing all attempts at service before she could consider finalising the order. The matter was adjourned until June.

A legal source said it is possible to get court approval for “substituted service” by way of e-mail or even Facebook, once it could be proved that all other, normal, attempts had failed. This is particularly so if a person has been out of the country for more than 21 days.

Pamodzi’s mines were placed in liquidation in 2009. Two —Orkney and Grootvlei — were “bought” by Aurora Empowerment Systems, of which Zuma was one of five directors. The company took control of the mines and “stripped” them of their assets and gold produce without paying anything for them.

Aurora was liquidated in October 2011. Zuma and the other directors — Thulani Ngubane, Solly and Fazel Bhana, and Zondwa Mandela (grandson of Nelson Mandela) — were held personally liable for the debts of the company.

Liquidator Johan Engelbrecht says in his affidavit two claims for R1.4bn and R122m have been proved against Zuma. Zuma undertook to pay off what he owed with a down payment of R5m and then payments of R500,000 in monthly instalments. 

Engelbrecht said while Zuma made the down payment and some instalments, these had dried up and now the full amounts were due and payable.

As part of the agreement Zuma had to disclose all of his assets but he had also not complied with this. “There are objective facts that he did not make a full disclosure. He did not deal with the extent or source of his income,” Engelbrecht says.

“The fact that he did make substantial payments — and maintained a standard of living while doing so — means he has substantial income and or access to substantial capital funds.”

Previous attempts by Business Day to contact Zuma were not successful.