OUTA asks NPA what happened to Aurora case

The prosecution of the former directors of Aurora Empowerment Systems was removed from the Springs Magistrate’s Court roll on 26 February 2019.

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27/02/2020 14:07:58

                                                                                                                                                                                                        OUTA asks NPA what happened to Aurora case

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Khulubuse Zuma, Zondwa Mandela, Thulani Ngubane and Raja Zainal Alam Shah were facing charges over the environmental and water transgressions at the failed Grootvlei mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        OUTA had lobbied for years for this prosecution and has now written to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) asking what happened to the case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        “OUTA has a vested interest in the prosecution of the Aurora matter and would like to assist the National Prosecuting Authority,” said Advocate Stefanie Fick, OUTA’s Chief Legal Officer, in her letter to the North Gauteng Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions. “Should the NPA for some reason decide not to prosecute, we will request a nolle prosequi certificate so that we can privately prosecute the matter.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                        OUTA is waiting for a response from the NPA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        “Charges were laid against the accused in May of 2010. However, today, approximately nine-and-a-half years later, no successful prosecutions have been made. The saga of Aurora played itself out in the glare of the media, casting South Africa in a poor light internationally and giving the impression that environmental laws can be flouted without repercussion,” said Fick in her letter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Zuma, the Aurora chair, is former President Jacob Zuma’s nephew; Mandela, the Aurora MD, is Nelson Mandela’s grandson; Ngubane was an executive director; and Shah was an executive director based in Malaysia who was supposed to provide financing. Aurora was in charge of Grootvlei gold mine near Springs from 15 October 2009 to 26 May 2011 and, during this time, the mine was looted resulting in uncontrolled pollution of water sources by acid mine drainage. The business collapsed, leaving 5 300 employees jobless and desperate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        OUTA lobbied the NPA for nearly two years to bring this prosecution. OUTA focused on a prosecution over environmental transgressions as, due to environmental laws, it is easier to bring a private prosecution on this aspect if the state fails to prosecute. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                        OUTA is a proudly South African civil action organisation, that is purely crowd funded. Our work is supported by ordinary citizens who are passionate about holding government accountable and ensuring our taxes are used to the benefit of all South Africans.