Statement by City Manager Sibusiso Sithole
Following the Tongaat Mall collapse, questions have been raised about whether Gralio Precast will be blacklisted from getting tenders in the Municipality as a result of the accident. The answer is no because Gralio is a separate legal entity from Rectangle Property Investments, the company involved in the construction of the Mall that has collapsed.

We need to separate matters. There are two legal entities are involved here. Firstly, one company is building an illegal mall oThongathi. This company (Rectangle Property Investments) will have to face the music in terms of blatant disregard for the order of the High Court which ruled that they cannot continue to build without the requisite planning approvals from the Council. As a matter of fact, Council is now looking at options not only of bringing an action for Contempt of Court decision, but also the possibility of an order for the owner to demolish the collapsed structure. There is already a precedent in this regard in Lester v Ndambe Municipality (a Supreme Court of Appeals) decision that a municipality may under certain circumstances succeed to order that an owner of a building that has been constructed without approvals and persistent disregard of the laws of the country be ordered to demolish it. In these matters, the court will exercise its discretion and taking into account all the relevant facts brought before it.

Secondly, the Municipality awarded Gralio a contract under the following context. In December 2011, long before the Manase Report was released, a tender for Phase 1B of Cornubia Housing was advertised. Upon assessment of the tender by the Bid Evaluation Committee and subsequently by the Bid Adjudication Committee, the contract was awarded to Gralio as the most responsive tenderer. However, because this tender was above R10 million, it had to be approved by the City Manager.
The City Manager rejected the award and Gralio appealed the decision to the Municipality’s Appeals Authority, which overturned the City Manager’s decision upon the emergence of new evidence including a letter from the NHBRC praising the quality of Gralio’s work. This was contrary to an earlier NHBRC report which had criticised Gralio’s work and formed part of the Manase Report findings.
Despite the findings of the Appeals Authority, the City further attempted to render a non-award, which Gralio defended legally.

After exhausting all the options for a non-award, it was considered prudent to proceed with Gralio. This long standing matter dating back to October 2011, was recently settled in October 2013 and is not a new award.
The statement by the DA is extremely misleading considering the background above. In fact, it is tantamount to political opportunistic posturing that has become synonymous with the DA’s cheap electioneering tactics. Cllr Mncwango is misleading the DA and the public with his unfounded statements as he is supposed to know better as a member of the Executive Committee.
 
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality's Communications Unit. Contact Municipal Spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng on 031 311 4820 / 082 731 7456 or email Thabo1.Mofokeng@durban.gov.za, or Gugu Mdlalose on 031 311 4807 or 072 944 4835 email: Gugu.Mdlalose@durban.gov.za