NATIONAL NEWS - After news broke yesterday that Park Village Auctions would be auctioning off the assets of African Global Operations, formerly known as Bosasa, from December 4 to 6, the company itself initially responded by saying it was nonsense.
However, news later in the day of a ruling expected on the company’s future by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein could change all that.
The ruling will decide on whether the company will be liquidated, or if control will be handed back in its entirety to the directors, taking them out of liquidation. If the SCA’s ruling goes against them, they will not be able to prevent the sale of their assets early next month.
Watson said they were only informed that the court was ready to rule late on Thursday.
An advertisement on the website of liquidators Sechaba Trust, which is run by Cloete Murray, claimed that items including late Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson’s metallic blue BMW X5 would be going under the hammer along with numerous vehicles, office furniture, catering equipment, workshop and gardening tools, computer equipment, security equipment, office furniture, household furniture and several properties.
The properties included the controversial Lindela Repatriation Centre as well as the company’s head office and copper plant.
A viewing was advertised for December 3 from 9am to 3pm.
Since then, Park Village Auctions have also started advertising the auction, with a post going on to Facebook about it at noon on Thursday.
Bosasa went into voluntary liquidation in February this year following banks announcing that they would be closing all of their accounts due to corruption allegations. They subsequently tried to reverse the liquidation.
Watson’s nephew Jared Watson, who is also the executor of his uncle’s estate and who has been assisting the company in accounting matters, responded on Thursday morning to the news by saying that numerous corporate and legal technicalities would stop any such auction from going ahead.
“There is absolutely no auction occurring regarding Bosasa/African Global assets in December,” he said. “This is merely false information being spread most likely by Cloete Murray, who has no authority to bring an auction.”
He provided as evidence two court documents that stipulated what would be required to sell any Bosasa assets.
“No assets can be sold by the liquidators without the consent of the directors of the company, and no such consent has been given.
“In fact, to the best of my knowledge Cloete Murray does not even have consent of the other provisional liquidators, something he would require even if the directors of Bosasa consented. Which, as I have said, they have not consented.”
Watson added that when the extension of powers of the liquidators was granted, the court had instructed that no assets of Bosasa companies could be sold without having consulted the directors, and receiving the express consent, of African Global Holdings, African Global Operations, as well as whatever subsidiary owned the asset.
“None of these consents have been given,” said Watson.
“I suspect as Cloete Murray has no educational background in law or accounting, he may not understand this, however it is the legal reality.”
When called for comment, Murray said: “Auctioneers are instructed and mandated to hold auctions on behalf of their principals and in compliance to the legislation which regulates auctions. In this instance the auctioneers were properly instructed and mandated by the liquidators.”
He said Watson had never been part of the consultative process that took place prior to the auctioneers being instructed.
“At no stage did he attend or form part of the numerous meetings that were held between the liquidators and the board members of the various entities. He is not in a position comment or to make assumptions on the process up to this point.”
Murray added that liquidators were obliged to act jointly in terms of section 382 of the Companies Act.
“This is what is happened in this matter. The appointment of the auctioneers was done jointly and all the liquidators have consented to this process.”
Murray suggested that one could “only assume that Jared Watson has not read or considered the contents of the various court applications which have served before the High Court to date. It is therefore not for him to decide what falls within the realm of ‘legal reality’ or not”.
“If Mr Watson is so convinced of his legal position he has a number of remedies at his disposal including launching proceedings in the High Court. Making fabricated and ill-conceived statements to the press, I submit, will not alter or change the attitude of the liquidators. The liquidators are duty bound to execute their statutory duties.”
Park Village Auctions (PVA) themselves confirmed that, as far as they were aware, the auction was going ahead.
They said on Facebook: “Assets belonging to several of Africa [sic] Global Operations (formally BOSASA) entities will be auctioned by Park Village Auctions, in association with Bidders Choice. That’s the word from PVA Director, Clive Lazarus, who confirmed speculations on Wednesday the 20th of November.”
In his official statement, Lazarus said: “Park Village Auctions and Bidders Choice have received due instruction from the appointed liquidators to proceed with the large undertaking of disposing of assets, which stem from subsidiaries of African Global/Bosasa in liquidation.”
The companies in question were Global Technology Systems (Pty) Ltd, Bosasa Properties (Pty) Ltd, Rodcor (Pty) Ltd, African Global Operations (Pty) Ltd, Watson Corporate Academy (Pty) Ltd, On-IT-1 (Pty) Ltd, Bosasa IT (Pty), Bosasa Supply Chain Management (Pty), Leading Prospect Trading 111 (Pty), Bosasa Youth Development Centres (Pty) Ltd, Black Rox Security Intelligence Services (Pty) Ltd, giving rise to the extensive variety of lots to be sold, they confirmed.
“So vast is the collection of assets to be sold that the auction will take place over three days from 4-6 December, at the African Global Operations’ Smart Global Campus located at number 1 Windsor Road, Luipaardsvlei, Krugersdorp.
Lazarus described the sale as having “emporium-like proportion with a substantial assortment of goods”.
“From an entire copper plant to commercial properties, magnificent high-end furniture, to commercial and passenger vehicles that range from entry-level to luxury SUVs — you name it, you’ll find it.”
Bosasa’s lawyers sent a letter to the auctioneers to advise them of their legal position and rights. The auctioneers, however, said the matter needed to be resolved between the liquidators and Bosasa.