The Organization Against Tax Abuse (Outa) said it would file an urgent interdict to compel the Bank of Baroda to freeze R1.75 billion in rehabilitation funds pegged for the Optimum and Koornfontein collieries.
The Pretoria High Court turned down a bid by the Gupta-owned companies to keep their Bank of Baroda accounts open. This means the accounts will be closed by the end of September.
Portfolio director for transport at Outa, Ben Theron confirmed that an interdict was filed on Thursday and the hearing is scheduled for Tuesday next week.
He says this R1.75 billion is money that companies operating in the mining industry are compelled to set aside to rehabilitate the mines for when operation activities stop.
In June 2016 this money was transferred to the Bank of Baroda amounting to R1.75 billion. What it was meant to do was that one day when the mine closes down that money must be used to rehabilitate the area so that people can move back in there, because if you don't do that the area becomes a dump.— Ben Theron, Portfolio director for transport at OUTA
Theron says the bank refused to disclose if the money is still available.
He says there are documents that show that the money has already been used as collateral for loans.
We don't know whether the money is still there but we hoping it is.— Ben Theron, Portfolio director for transport at OUTA
What worries us is that between the sale of the mines and the bank accounts being closed, that money can potentially disappear into the ether - R1.75 fills a lot of suitcases.— Ben Theron, Portfolio director for transport at OUTA
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