Lindiwe Sisulu’s comments halt Tongaat mall inquiry

2014-10-22 14:22

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The inquiry into the Tongaat mall collapse was postponed today amid questions over whether the government had partially funded the mall.

Today’s session had to be postponed due to a lack of recording equipment, but it was comments made by Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu at an unrelated press conference yesterday that piqued interest.

Sisulu said: “The tragedy about that building is that it was partly funded by myself. I am keenly waiting to see what the outcome of that investigation is. Part of the funding did come from human settlements.”

Her statement contradicted the testimony of Ravi Jagadasan, who told the department of labour’s inquiry, tasked with investigating the collapse, which killed two people and injured 29 others.

On July 24 Jagadasan, who is the sole member of Rectangle Property Investments CC, said that the R250 million project had been privately funded.

It was not clear how much funding the project had received from the department or why it was funding a shopping mall.

Comment could not immediately be obtained today from either human settlements spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya or representatives Jagadasan. Gralio Precast (Pty) Ltd, the company tasked with building the mall.

The mall is run by Durban businessman Jay Singh – Jagadasan’s father.

Saleem Khan, the lawyer representing Gralio at the inquiry, said he was not aware of the funding and said he would need to first consult his clients before responding.

The inquiry is set to resume tomorrow with a visit to the site by the commission. It will sit again on Friday to hear further testimony. Design engineer Andre Ballack is expected to testify then.

Sisulu’s comments were made in response to a question at a media briefing during the 6th Planning Africa Conference.

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