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Monday Dec 02, 2013

NHBRC shuts down Durban property development

An 'unlawful' property development in Newlands West, linked to controversial businessman Jay Singh, has been shut down - 20 days before building on the nearly 100 flats was to finish.

Construction on these Newlands West flats, developed by a company linked to controversial Tongaat businessman Jay Singh, has been shut down by the National Home Builders' Registration Council.

The construction company, Woodglaze Trading, which is headed by Singh's former wife, Shireen Annamaly, did not enrol the project with the National Home Builders' Registration Council.

All new homes must be enrolled with the council, which then conducts a series of building inspections to protect inhabitants from poor workmanship.

The builders' council filed an urgent interdict application in the Durban High Court on Friday, which saw Woodglaze Trading give an undertaking to stop building and comply with the provisions of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act 1998 within the next 12 days. It also secured orders against the registrar of deeds and the eThekwini Municipality, to prevent prospective occupants from moving into any of the flats in the 16 blocks. The court papers revealed that the council slapped Woodglaze Trading with a notice of non-compliance on November 15, to which there was no response and in spite of which construction continued.

The council argued that of particular concern were Annamaly's ties with Singh, and that Woodglaze Trading was 'another vehicle used by Singh for developments in which he is involved'.

The papers also revealed that the council was worried that the failure to enrol the homes being built was deliberate, because the quality of work did not meet the necessary requirements and might be 'sub-standard'.

Woodglaze Trading was fined R15 000 in August for its non-compliance.

When The Mercury visited the unfenced building site yesterday, it seemed that it had been abandoned.

Construction had gone as far as the roofs and kitchen fittings could be seen through some of the windows.

The return date in the matter between Woodglaze Trading and the builders' council is December 13.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Tenants' and Residents' Association is still waiting for the city to provide it with records about the sale of the land and the letting of housing to Woodglaze.

The records were to be handed over by Friday, but the Durban High Court heard that some were still outstanding.

The association is seeking a review of the city's decision in this regard because of allegations of shoddy workmanship and irregular agreements over housing developments controlled by the company.

The city has now been ordered to hand over the outstanding records by Friday.

The matter will come before the court again in March.

The Mercury


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