OUTA still waiting for NPA’s explanation on Aurora
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) is still waiting for the National Prosecuting Authority to explain the dropping of the case against the Aurora directors.
Khulubuse Zuma, Zondwa Mandela, Thulani Ngubane and Raja Zainal Alam Shah were facing charges over the environmental and water transgressions during their ownership of the failed Grootvlei gold mine near Springs from October 2009 to May 2011. During this time, the mine pumped untreated acid mine water into the surrounding river system.
Since February 2017, OUTA has lobbied for this prosecution to go ahead.
In February 2020, the court found that that State was not ready for trial and struck the case from the court roll. At the time, OUTA wrote to the NPA asking what had happened.
Six months later, OUTA is still waiting for an explanation from the NPA, which has said only that the outstanding investigation is ongoing.
“At this point we are deeply concerned that the accused will not be prosecuted and held accountable for the detrimental effects occasioned by themselves,” says Advocate Stefanie Fick in a letter to National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shamila Batoyi.
Fick, who is the Director of OUTA’s Accountability Division, asks Batoyi to intervene. “This has been an ongoing matter since 2011 and it is unfathomable how a prosecution of this nature can take this long,” says Fick.
In Fick’s letter in February to the NPA, she said that if the NPA decides not to prosecute, OUTA will ask for a nolle prosequi certificate (a certificate confirming the decision not to prosecute) so that OUTA may pursue a private prosecution.
OUTA’s letter to the NDPP of 26 August 2020 is here.
OUTA’s letter to the NPA of 27 February 2020 is here.
More information on the Aurora case is here.