Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) on Thursday announced that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) would start its prosecution of the former directors of Aurora Empowerment Systems on May 28.
A summons had been issued in March related to environmental and water transgressions at the failed Grootvlei mine, near Springs, in the Upper Vaal Management Area.
The former directors facing prosecution are Khulubuse Zuma, Zondwa Mandela, Thulani Ngubane and Raja Alam Shah.
“The mismanagement and looting of the mine by its directors led to the collapse of the mine, leaving 5 300 mineworkers unemployed. The Grootvlei looting included the removal of pumps essential for controlling acid mine drainage into Gauteng’s water sources, resulting in uncontrolled spillage into the Blesbokspruit waterbody, which drains into the Vaal river,” Outa said.
Further, the organisation said it presumed the prosecution would lean on Section 151 of the National Water Act that criminalises any noncompliance with water licence conditions.
The directors may be liable to a fine or be sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both, said Outa chief legal officer Advocate Stefanie Fick.
The decision to prosecute was taken following two years of engagement between Outa and the NPA.
Outa hoped that, under the leadership of the new National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shamila Batohi, the successful prosecution of Aurora’s directors would demonstrate the NPA’s desire to restore public confidence in its ability to execute its mandate without fear or favour.