Ruann Kruger on behalf of Kruger & Co Attorneys:
“On behalf of the National Union of Mineworkers, Kruger & Co Attorneys will be launching a court application to set aside the resolution taken by the directors of Optimum Coal Mine and to remove the business rescue practitioners who were appointed to administer the business rescue proceedings at Optimum. This application will be launched in order to act in the best interest of the National Union of Mineworkers and the 500 employees currently employed at Optimum who are members of the union and whom the union represents.
These practitioners are Johan Louis Klopper and Kurt Robert Knoop. The application will be submitted on the grounds that Knoop and Klopper were appointed unlawfully contrary to the provisions of the Companies Act of 2008, that everything they do now is unlawful and they are aware of this, and that they are not independent and were appointed as business rescue practitioners in eight other Gupta-linked companies during the exact same period as Optimum’s business rescue proceedings. Our client is seeking the appointment of a truly independent business rescue practitioner. In fact, in the case of Klopper, his appointment was simply fraudulent.
At a meeting between Knoop and Klopper and Optimum creditors which took place in Kempton Park on Tuesday, 6 March, Knoop and Klopper confirmed their appointment for business rescue for eight other Gupta-linked companies but denied “knowing” the shareholders or members of Gupta family despite evidence to contrary.
Optimum is being denied applications to open a bank account from major financial institutions due to the alleged ties between Knoop, Klopper and the shareholders of Gupta-linked companies. Without a bank account, the mine currently cannot remain operational which puts the income of hundreds of mine employees and various contractors at risk. This is why the mineworkers are therefore urgently seeking to approach the court for the appropriate relief to remove the current business rescue practitioners and to appoint alternative business rescue practitioners who will act independently and are not linked to Gupta shareholders or companies.
The current resolution taken by the directors of Optimum should be set aside and the practitioners be removed on the basis that the resolution taken by the directors to enter into business rescue is unlawful. Section 129(2)(a) of the of the Companies Act of 2008 determines that a resolution to commence business rescue may not be adopted by the board of the company if liquidation proceedings have been initiated against the company, a fact that was conceded and admitted to by the practitioners on 6th March during the first creditors meetings of Optimum Coal Mine.
The plea of the National Union of Mineworkers is that independent business rescue practitioners be appointed, who they can trust and will act in the best interest of all affected parties.”