Disgruntled ex-employees defaming me - Georgiou

2015-08-19 06:00
The Georgiou Hotel and Spa

The Georgiou Hotel and Spa (www.safarinow.com)

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GEORGIOU Hotel and Spa owner Phillip Georgiou has accused alleged disgruntled former employees of defaming his name following an article by local daily newspapers on the High Court judgement to demolish parts of his luxurious property.

The judgement was part of the Metro’s suit against Georgiou Hotel and Spa owners to demolish parts of their structures on the Kragga Kamma Road property as they were deemed unlawful and contravened the National Building Regulations and Standards Act.

The social media was ablaze following the article as readers claimed the Georgiou Hotel and Spa owners, Phillip and Yvette Georgiou, had ill-treated staff and even withheld salaries.

Phillip has denied this, saying a clique of “disgruntled former staff” have made it their mission to mislead the public for several months now.

“These people are dishonest and are going out of their way to drag my name through the mud. Anyone who knows me and has worked for me knows that I am generous and kind to my staff,” said Phillip.

He said that one of the former staff members spearheading this campaign against him was fired after charges of sexual harassment were laid against him (the employee).

Phillip said he employs 35 people on his property and none of the former staff members who were alleging he had not paid them, had ever gone to the CCMA to lay a complaint against him.

While the order also restricted the Georgious from continuing with any other building work, Phillip said it was business as usual as he was intending to appeal against the judgement - going to the highest courts in the country if necessary.

“We have already begun our next phase by filing papers, appealing the judgement. According to my understanding as soon as court papers are filed it’s business as usual,” he added.

DA Ward 8 councillor and caucus chief whip Gustav Rautenbach said he had received several complaints on Georgiou’s re-zoning of his property.

“The complaints were generally about the rezoning and residents were concerned that they had not received any notification letters to give them a chance to submit their concern. People were aware that there were restrictions on the title deed and you have to apply for that to be removed before it can be considered by council,” said Rautenbach.

Rautenbach said he had proof that the Georgious’ development contravened the legal requirements but could not add to this as the matter was still labelled confidential in council.

“The case is in front of the standing committee on Green Paper and I can’t speak on the matter, but at the end of the day it was up to the mayor to say yay or nay to the Georgious’ application,” said Rautenbach.

This matter forms part of the metro’s case against the suspended executive director of the Department of Human Settlements, Lindile Petuna.

According to documents which form part of the metro’s charge sheet in Petuna’s case, Petuna was charged with gross insubordination and dereliction of duty when he failed to obey the municipal attorneys and metro boss Mpilo Mbambisa’s instruction that the Georgious’ rezoning application was in conflict with the restrictive conditions in their title deed.

The document also states that Petuna was ordered not to consider or approve the application on erven 1756, 231 and 2787 Lorraine which was in conflict with certain other restrictive conditions contained in the title deed.

Rautenbach agreed with the court ruling, saying that it was fair. “I believe that the sun must shine on everybody. I am in favour of any development, especially when it can create much-needed jobs. However, one must follow correct procedures. Nobody is above the law or by-laws,” said Rautenbach.

Phillip accused Rautenbach of being a puppet and only acting on behalf of one of his neighbours. “My property has upped the value of many homes here in Kragga Kamma,” he said.

Rautenbach replied by saying, “Look at the comments on Facebook and you will see how this man operates. I have all the proof but unfortunately it’s part of an investigation.”

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