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President Jacob Zuma on Friday distanced himself from his nephew Khulubuse Zuma’s involvement in the embattled Aurora’s mining affairs.
“I don’t know whether I should just be getting into the business of a person simply because he’s a nephew. I don’t discuss business easily with my nephew,” Zuma told The New Age and SABC at a business breakfast in Port Elizabeth.
Khulubuse Zuma and former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa Mandela — who are directors of Aurora Empowerment Systems — are currently facing the wrath of unions, who argue that Aurora’s workers are owed R4.3 million.
Congress of SA Trade Unions earlier this week lashed out at Aurora’s bosses and told the workers that they would stand by them.
“We are going to make sure that the gold mine’s owners adhere to the court order... The big names are stripping our people as if they do not have consciences, [and] these fat cats are dying from eating too much while poor families are dying of hunger and poverty,” The Sowetan reported secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi as saying this week.
Zuma said disputes involving workers not being paid should be looked into and there should be consequences.
“What, of course, cannot be accepted is if workers are working and not being paid. That’s an issue that we look at, not only because he is a nephew of Zuma, but anyone.”
Asked if as a father figure, Zuma should not advise his nephew, he said: “I’m not a businessman, I don’t know what happens in business. How can I tell a person because he is my relative, ’please pay your workers or don’t pay your workers’?”
Aurora Empowerment Systems is facing an insolvency hearing in connection with their management of the liquidated Pamodzi mines in Gauteng and the North West.
Over 5,300 jobs are said to have been lost.