15 June 2017

South Africa: Ethekwini Cancels Jay Singh's Housing Contract

The DA on Thursday called on the eThekwini Municipality to investigate all housing contracts in Phoenix following its cancellation of a contract linked to businessman Jay Singh.

The contract was cancelled amid a litany of complaints and failure to comply with due process.

DA KwaZulu-Natal housing spokesperson, George Mari, said more needed to be done.

"This does not go far enough. The municipality needs to look at all housing contracts in Phoenix, involving other developers too. There are over 1000 state-owned sites in Phoenix where developers are building houses without permission. They all need to be brought to book," he said.

A recent report to the municipality's executive committee contained recommendations that the city revokes a contract for Woodglaze Trading, operating as Ladybrick, to develop social housing in Phoenix.

Singh's wife Shireen Annamalay and his son Ravi Jagadasan own Woodglaze. Reasons for the cancellation include non-compliance with supply chain regulations, violations of the Municipal Finance Management Act, flouting of town planning regulations and selling of sites without appropriate permission.

Phoenix residents had, since 2013, accused the company of irregular conduct, building houses on land it was not entitled to build on, and then selling them at a massive profit.

An unnamed source close to the investigation said that despite years of complaints, nothing had been done until eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede decided to take action against Woodglaze. A report was submitted to council and approved, and Singh was notified of the cancellation.

"To his credit, he has agreed to co-operate with [the] council and also to pay for the proceeds from the sales of the unit he did not have approval to build," the source said.

According to the report, assets worth R101m, which were seized during forensic investigations into Singh's Phoenix development project in 2014, would likely be returned to him.

Singh was not immediately available for comment.

Source: News24

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