Bus firm sues Gupta linked company

Ajay Gupta and younger brother Atul Gupta, Oakbay MD Jagdish Parekh with Duduzane Zuma in the heyday of their business enterprises in South Africa.
Ajay Gupta and younger brother Atul Gupta, Oakbay MD Jagdish Parekh with Duduzane Zuma in the heyday of their business enterprises in South Africa.
Image: Martin Rhodes

A company formerly connected to the controversial Gupta family and former president Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane is facing a R2.3m lawsuit by a bus company for nonpayment for transporting miners.

Westdawn Investments, a company which once boasted Zuma and Rajesh Kumar Gupta among others, as directors before their resignation in early 2016, has been taken to the South Gauteng high court by Unitrans Passengers Pty (Ltd) after it vanished without footing their employees' transport bill.

According to court papers seen by Sunday World, the two entities had entered into an agreement to transport miners from Middelburg and Hendrina to Boschmanspoort Mine in Mpumalanga in June 2017.

The agreement, which was for a year, shows that Westdawn, which was trading as JIC Mining Services, and currently led by Ronica Ragavan and Jagannath Prasad Arora, had requested three buses to ferry employees to and from work seven days a week.

"The cost per month was R283,000 - with additional kilometres charged at the rate of R11.04 per kilometre," reads the papers, which also show that the agreement was agreed to by "one Mr JP Arora in December 2018, one of the directors of the company."

In the claim, Unitrans said they rendered the transport service from December 2017 to October 2018 as per the request and special instance of Westdawn Investments.

Duduzane Zuma. / Antonio Muchave
Duduzane Zuma. / Antonio Muchave

"The amount due by the defendant to the plaintiff in respect of the aforementioned transport services and in terms of the offer is R2 363 320,76" reads the papers.

However, Unitrans said in the same papers that despite demand, the company failed to pay the debt as per their 2017 agreement.

Sunday World has seen a letter of demand dated November 26 2018 sent to Westdawn Investments offices in Midrand.

In it, Unitrans was demanding the amount owed to it, and had given the company a deadline of November 30 2018.

It appears that the mining company failed to heed the demand as, according to court papers filed, Unitrans was now demanding the full amount owed to them including interest at the rate of 10.5%.

They are also demanding that Westdawn pay for the cost of the lawsuit.

Unitrans lawyer Cuzen Randeree said the company had no comment on the matter.

The Gupta family's lawyer Rudi Krause had not responded to SMSes and Whatsapp messages sent to him at the time of going to print.

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