News Column

Opposition to project's builders mounts

January 23, 2014

WHILE Gralio Precast, a company linked to controversial businessman Jay Singh , will continue to build houses in the Cornubia development near uMhlanga, opposition parties are still calling for the multi-million-rand contract to be reviewed. The company, which is owned by Singh's ex-wife, Shireen Annamalay, and son, Ravi Jagadasan, was re-awarded the R101 million Cornubia second-phase contract by the municipality in October after a legal battle. The partial collapse in November of the Tongaat mall, being built by Rectangle Property Investments , also owned by Jagadasan, saw opposition parties demand that companies linked to Singh should do no further work for the city. In response, municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said Gralio Precast had had nothing to do with what had happened at the Tongaat mall, and that it would complete work on the Cornubia Phase 1B project, which would have 2 221 units. "Gralio was not building the mall, it was another company," said Mofokeng. DA councillor Heinz de Boer said he believed that the city was not willing to look at ways of getting rid of the Gralio contract because it feared going back to court. De Boer said it was time that a forensic investigation was conducted into the city's supply chain management unit. "We don't understand how major contracts always go to the same people, regardless of their background. This company was in the Manase Report for shoddy work, yet the municipality continues to give them work." De Boer said questions had been raised about Gralio since 2007. "It is only after the collapse of the mall that the city realised the seriousness of the issue of poor workmanship, because it is the same people who own Gralio who are building there," he said. NFP councillor Shaik Emam said the solution was for the contract to be withdrawn and for the company and others linked to Singh to be blacklisted. IFP councillor Prem Iyir suggested that from now on, Gralio and other companies linked to Singh be monitored closely, pending the outcome of the Tongaat mall investigation "We must keep an eye on everything that they do, including the material they use, because this is where the problem starts. Inspections should be done right through the process," he said. Iyir said they too were opposed to Gralio's getting the contract because of the many past issues, but said there was nothing they could do after being told it was an out-of-court settlement. Meanwhile, families have slowly been moving into units of the completed Phase 1A of the Cornubia project which consists of 482 units. "As the houses become ready for occupation we move families in," Mofokeng said. Singh's spokesman Melanie Moodley was asked for comment, but did not reply. The Mercury

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Source: Mercury, The (South Africa)

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