Trade union Solidarity has called on the liquidators of Aurora Empowerment Systems and the Master of the High Court in Johannesburg to expedite payments to impoverished former mineworkers at Aurora’s Grootvlei and Orkney mines who have already been waiting for eight years to get paid.
Solidarity’s general secretary Gideon du Plessis said they have now sent a letter to Aurora’s liquidators expressing dissatisfaction with yet further delays in payments to their members and other former Aurora workers.
He said their members were at their wits’ end, were despondent and had been under tremendous financial pressure since March 2010 because they were still waiting for compensation – despite submitting their claims in the prescribed format, and despite the necessary funds being available to pay them.
Du Plessis said they were aware that outstanding and incomplete claims from members represented by other trade unions was apparently delaying the process, but said it was nonetheless inappropriate to prejudice those whose claims had been submitted on time.
He said it would be unfair to deprive them of their first payment because of the failures of other parties.
“The Aurora saga has been ongoing for eight years already and it is really now crippling people. Apart from the fact that our members and other workers need to get the money that is their due, they also want to get closure after this difficult and painful phase in their lives,” he said.
The High Court in Pretoria ruled in 2015 that former president Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma and fellow Aurora directors pay R1.5 billion in damages for the destruction of Aurora’s Grootvlei and Orkney mines that led to 5 300 job losses.