Gupta-owned mine workers unpaid
Rescue practitioner expresses frustration over slow pace of resolving the disgraced family’s legal issues
THE business rescue practitioner of a Gupta-owned company has expressed his disappointment at the slow pace of resolving the latest legal wrangle involving the controversial family.
Shiva Uranium business rescue practitioner Chris Monyela yesterday told Independent Media that he was growing frustrated and disappointed at still having the matter unresolved, a situation which has left scores of workers unpaid for five months.
He said it was causing a lot of uncertainty and anxiety to workers and other creditors, and everything has ground to a halt.
Last month, Shiva Uranium employees approached the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in a bid to receive their salaries for July, during which they got only 30% of pay, and the subsequent months of August, September and October, in which they were not paid at all.
All employment benefit contributions such as retirement fund contributions, insurance, outstanding taxes and statutory payments have also not been paid since July.
The anxious employees joined Monyela’s bid to have two other business rescue practitioners, Mahomed Mahier Tayob and Eugene Januarie, removed.
Monyela told the tribunal that Shiva Uranium chief executive George van der Merwe unlawfully appointed Tayob and Januarie in an attempt to disrupt the placing under business rescue of the former Gupta company.
Van der Merwe was also chief executive of two other Gupta-owned companies Optimum Mine and Koornfontein Mines, which are both under business rescue.
“Van der Merwe was part of the pre-existing management (including directors) of various companies in business rescue that unscrupulously partook in an orchestrated and well-devised stratagem since March 2018 at the instance of the Gupta family to generate vexatious litigation in an attempt to harass business rescue practitioners,” read Monyela’s explosive affidavit filed at the tribunal last month.
Monyela said the plan was to prevent business rescue practitioners from attending to their task of rescuing these companies and to remove the other business rescue practitioner Juanito Damons and himself.
Damons was appointed by another business rescue practitioner Cloete Murray and Monyela. Murray later resigned. Monyela accused Van der Merwe of personally initiating several of these applications to block them from rescuing the Gupta-owned companies under business rescue including Optimum Coal Terminal.
IEmployees of Shiva, which conducted uranium, gold and coal mining operations before it was placed under supervision, also raised concerns about Tayob and January and threatened to march to the CIPC’s offices if they were not removed.
“We see all these actions as deliberate to disrupt normal operations at the mine resulting in us again not receiving our salaries. Unfortunately, as workers, we will certainly not entertain the appointments of these two gentlemen as additional business rescue practitioners. We have suffered enough,” Shiva employees warned CIPC officials on October 17.
Last month, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said almost 200 Shiva employees had not received their salaries since July.