Gralio Precast keep presence at mall

2013-12-18 00:00

A MONTH has passed since the collapse of the Tongaat Mall on November 19 in which two people died and 30 were injured. Yesterday, the site stood silent behind hazard tape while a security guard patrolled the perimeter.

Gralio Precast, the construction company, are maintaining a presence on the site in the person of storeman Nathan Govender — “just in case someone comes along”, he said. “But the site is closed pending an investigation.”

Rectangle Investments, the developer of the mall, is owned by Ravi Jagadasan, son of Durban business mogul and tender magnate Daniel “Jay” Singh, while the construction company managing the development when it collapsed, Gralio Precast, is owned by Singh’s wife, Shireen Annamalay.

An inquiry into the collapse is scheduled to begin in the third week of January.

“We are collecting documentation until December 31,” said Labour Department spokesperson Nhlanhla Khumalo, who confirmed that concrete samples had been sent to structural engineers for testing. However, Khumalo said he could not comment on whether the test results had been received. “I am not at liberty to say what we have received or not received at this stage”.

The inquiry is expected to last six months with a final report being released at the end of 2014. The inquiry will be presided over by Phumi Maphaha, manager of the Labour Department’s occupational health and safety section.

It has been reported that Rectangle Investment was served with contempt of court papers on December 12 by the eThekwini Municipality and the matter is set to be heard in February in the Durban high court.

Prior to the collapse, the city had been granted a final court order against Rectangle Properties, calling on it to stop construction until it obtained municipal planning approval. The developer was given 30 days from the serving of the order to comply, failing which it would have to demolish the structure.

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