CentralSACCMA awards ex-Alexkor mine boss R3m
─── OLEBOGENG MOTSE 18:00 Fri, 09 Oct 2020
The cash-strapped Northern Cape mine partly owned by Alexkor, has to cough up over R 3,2 million to be paid over to former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mervyn Carstens.
In the latest chapter in the unravelling of the Pooling and Sharing Joint Venture (PSJV) formed between Alexkor SOC and the Richtersveld Mining Company, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has found in favour of Carstens, who was challenging the fairness of his suspension which came into effect on 4 February 2020. The award, dated 25 September 2020, not only declared his suspension unfair, but ordered the financially strained Alexkor RMC joint venture to dig deep into its pockets and compensate Carstens a year of his salary by 20 October 2020.
The scathing award by Commissioner Chitane Soza, chastises Alexkor for failing to adhere to its own disciplinary code when suspending Carstens. The CEO, says nothing was communicated to him, regarding disciplinary proceedings, prior to the date of his suspension. In fact, he was only notified of his suspension while representing the PSJV at the Mining Ndaba in Cape Town in early February.
He further adds that he wasn’t afforded an opportunity to address the allegations that were levelled against him, mainly by irate sub-contractors whose contracts with the diamond miner had not been renewed as outlined in the auditing report by Gobodo Forensic and Investigative Accounting. Soza found that Carstens’ suspension was punitive and did not serve any purpose, it further contradicted the Alexkor RMC JV’s own disciplinary code and due to its sheer unfairness, it had a “detrimental impact on the applicant and has prejudiced his reputation”.
In early September OFM News reported Alexkor had also terminated its contract with the formerly Gupta-linked Company, Scarlet Sky Investments (SSI). The termination has not been without its own fair share of drama. The sales and marketing contract came under scrutiny in the #Guptaleaks series by the Mail and Guardian’s Amabungane and the Daily Maverick’s Scorpio teams in 2017. The Gobodo report, found the contract which was awarded in 2014, and renewed in 2016 for a five year period, to be irregularly awarded.
The OFM News team is in possession of a letter from Hector North Inc Attorneys, on behalf of Scarlet Sky Investments (SSI), which confirms word on the ground that the relationship between the respective parties has soured. In it the law firm says “the agreement entered into by and between you and our client on 6 October 2016 remains of full force and effect and our client requires compliance with the terms of the agreement”. Hector North Inc further chastises Alexkor for informing subcontractors of the termination, “we understand that you have advised the land, beach, shallow and marine mining contractors that you have terminated the agreement with our client. Your conduct is unlawful and the agreement has not been lawfully terminated and remains binding”. Hector North Inc Attorneys has declined to comment on the matter to OFM News, stating in an email responding to questions, that they “are not authorised to comment on the contents of the email under reply”.