Durban developer fights back against rogue ‘federation’ stopping major construction projects
BUSINESS LIVE / 18 APRIL 2018 - 15:23 / JEFF WICKS
Millionaire developer and businessman Vivian Reddy will not bow to threats of intimidation by business forums that stormed the site of the R4.2bn Oceans development in Umhlanga on Wednesday.
Lagoon Drive in the plush beachfront precinct was closed as a mob of protesters came onto the construction site‚ stopping work and calling on staff to leave the premises.
Vivian Reddy in front of an artists impression of his Oceans development in Umhlanga which will be high endn shopping centre, conference centre , residential , and hotel. Picture: JACKIE CLAUSEN
The move was orchestrated by the Federation for Radical Economic Transformation (FFRET)‚ an umbrella body encompassing smaller black business forums‚ including controversial outfit Delangokubona. They claim that Reddy’s business was not aimed at empowering black people.
Reddy‚ who was out of the country‚ said he was made aware of the protest action. "We have complied with 50% empowerment. There shouldn’t be these protests because we have complied with the black economic empowerment (BEE) requirements."
Reddy said the forum was aware that it had to submit a list of contractors‚ who could tender for work on the project, adding, "We won’t be intimated. These are bullying tactics."
Delangokubona has often been accused of using mafia-style tactics to threaten construction bosses in an effort to get a share of contract work‚ halting work on multi-billion-rand projects around the province. Work on major pipelines‚ hospitals‚ malls and roads in KwaZulu-Natal have been hamstrung by the cohort‚ who have been hauled to court several times to stop their tactics.
In February, a R1.8bn revamp of Tsogo Sun’s Suncoast Casino complex was halted by the forum‚ which is accused of using threats of violence‚ intimidation and extortion.
Malusi Zondi of FFRET said their only aim was to emancipate black business owners. "We were called by these business forums to say there are many developments in their territory but they were never consulted about these. We are here to facilitate an engagement between Reddy‚ other big contractors working on this development, and our people, who just want a platform to sit with them and express their views.
"Delangokubona is with us and we represent 35 business forums who all want to break the chains of poverty and change the perception of black people‚ we are professionals and not just labour."
Regarding the alleged threat of violence‚ Zondi said: "We are not thugs."
It is unclear when work on the development‚ which will eventually become home to the Radisson Blu Hotel‚ a shopping mall and luxury apartments‚ will continue.
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER