Blacklist Aurora directors, NUM says
While the liquidation process to recover more than R1-billion from the owners of the Aurora mines drags on, the company's workers have been paid a total of R2.03-million.
Kenny Fick, chief director of Gauteng operations in the Department of Mineral Resources, told the parliamentary portfolio committee on mineral resources that a court had ordered Aurora Empowerment Systems to pay its workers the R4.3-million owed to them.
Though 1287 miners at Grootvlei mine, on the East Rand, had been paid, their colleagues at the Orkney mine, in North West, had not.
At the Grootvlei mine, an additional 468 claims, to the value of R1.73-million, had been received from about 1000 miners.
But Fick said that further legal action to force Aurora to pay could not be taken because the liquidation process had begun.
This meant that the miners would have to wait until the process was finalised to receive the money owed them.
The department's North West chief director of operations, Andile Makapela, said 1170 Orkney miners were owed R3.95-million.
Thousands were left unemployed and many homeless when the mines were closed in 2009.
Aurora's directors - who include President Jacob Zuma's nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, former president Nelson Mandela's grandson, Zondwa Mandela, and Zuma's legal adviser, Michael Hulley - are facing a liquidation inquiry. The liquidators want to recover up to R1.6-billion.
Fick said that though the workers' employment had not been formally end ed, they could claim from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. In this respect, 936 Grootvlei claims had been verified since November .
One of the biggest stumbling blocks in the UIF system was in tracing Aurora's foreign workers.
"After they were paid, a lot of them went home," said Fick, adding that they might not be aware that they were entitled to UIF benefits.
Fick said another problem facing the department was that squatters had moved into the Grootvlei miners' hostel .
National Union of Mineworkers parliamentary head Madoda Sambatha told the portfolio committee that he wanted the government to take a stand against companies that failed to pay their workers .
"A mine worker who fails to pay his account is taken to the credit bureau and blacklisted. An employer who doesn't pay has to be taken to court."
He said it should be illegal for people to be blacklisted if they were unemployed as a result of a liquidation.
He said employers should be prohibited from owning companies if they were unable to pay workers.