SA court grants Vedanta injunction against KCM liquidation

By Staff Reporter

The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has granted Vedanta Resources an urgent interim injunction against ZCCM-IH and liquidator Milingo Lungu.

However, government has maintained that the liquidation of KCM will go ahead despite court ruling against Zambia in the courts of South Africa.

This means that ZCCM-IH is obliged to withdraw the winding up process of KCM from the Lusaka High Court and resolve all shareholder disputes through formal arbitration in South Africa.

ZCCM-IH’s legal counsel and liquidator Milingo Lungu were unavailable for comment.

The ruling has effectively blocked the Zambian government from proceeding with the sale of KCM to another investor.

Vedanta Resources has been engaged in a legal battle with the Zambian government after it appointed a liquidator for KCM in May.

Government owns 20 per cent of KCM through Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) while Vedanta owns the majority 79 per cent of the country’s largest copper mine.

South African High Court Judge Leicester Adams said today in a ruling seen as a big win for Vedanta that winding up proceedings must be immediately be withdrawn until a final decision is made following arbitration.

“Pending the final determination of the arbitration, the first respondent is interdicted and restrained from taking any further steps in the furtherance and prosecution of the winding up proceedings,” Judge Adams said.

Vedanta has welcomed the decision and said it was committed to resolving the dispute.

Speaking at a media briefing at State House today, Mines Minister, Richard Musukwa explained the ruling of a South African court could not be enforced in any court in Zambia.

Musukwa who was flanked by Justice Minister Given Lubinda and Attorney General Likando Kalaluka has since called for calm as government would do everything possible to protect the interest of Zambians in managing the mining sector.

And Lubinda said the South Gauteng High Court could not undermine the Zambian judiciary as foreign courts had no jurisdiction over Zambia.