Aurora strikes deal with NUM

EMBATTLED investment firm Aurora Empowerment Systems has signed an agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers to pay workers outstanding wages today - ending a strike which started last month.

NUM said yesterday the agreement would ensure that workers at the company's Grootvlei mine were paid their February wages today. The agreement also meant that the workers would end their strike action and return to work by Monday .

Workers have not been paid since January and water and electricity have been cut off at the East Rand mine.

NUM chairperson at Grootvlei Frasy Namanyama said: "It remains to be seen whether the company will honour its commitment as it has previously failed to do so."

The union called on Aurora to honour its commitment and to ensure that workers were regularly remunerated.

President Jacob Zuma's nephew, Khulubuse Zuma is Aurora's chairman and Nelson Mandela's grandson, Zondwa Mandela is the company's managing director.

Last month, mineworkers downed tools at Grootvlei to protest non-payment of wages and job loss threats.

Mandela met with Pamodzi Gold provisional liquidators, from whom Aurora bought the Grootvlei mine and others last year for R390million. Aurora also bought Pamodzi's Orkney mine in the Free State for R215million.

Pamodzi Gold provisional liquidator Enver Motala said Aurora had made "certain proposals to the joint provisional liquidators. We asked them to submit the proposals in writing, which they promised to do by tomorrow [today]."

Motala said the liquidators would then make a decision whether the proposals are acceptable or not. "We also requested from Aurora a breakdown of how they are going to sort out the outstanding wages."

Mandela did not answer e-mailed questions about the proposals Aurora has made to the liquidators.