Tenants’ costly case against Singh

2014-01-10 00:00

A PHOENIX tenant organisation taking on Durban tender tycoon Jay Singh over their right to live in a series of complexes built by him, is running out of money.

The Phoenix Tenants Association (PTA) have since July 2013 been fighting Singh and the company that built the complexes, and linked to Singh, in the Durban high court. The company, called Woodglaze Trading, is run by Singh’s wife Shireen Annamalay.

Their issues range from poor workmanship, illegal evictions, reneging on promises to sell the homes to the tenants after a prescribed period of time, and claiming Woodglaze obtained the land illegally from the council.

The developments were, according to earlier reports, part of a joint project between the eThekwini Metro and Woodglaze Trading in an effort to meet the demand of the low income housing market.

PTA spokesperson Mervyn Govender said the legal action has been expensive and their attempt to push for a result could be jeopardised if they fail to come up with the money. He said they will have several high court appearances this year against Singh.

“We have about 400 members who have been contributing to our cause but they are all low-income families. We have also been having increased difficulty in meeting with our members in the various complexes with security banning certain members of the PTA committee from entering the property,” said Govender.

“There have also been rumours that the committee is using the money collected for legal fees irresponsibly, but this is completely untrue.”

He plans on taking their plight to the Public Protector next week.

The Singh family made national headlines in November when a mall being built in Tongaat collapsed, killing two people and injuring 29.

It was being built by a company linked to him — Rectangle Property Investments — run by his son Ravi Jagadasan, while the civil works were being done by another company he controls, called Gralio Precast. The council at the time said no planning permission was granted for the mall.

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