Court interdict halts construction of Amazon HQ in Cape Town

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 21 Mar 2022
The proposed River Club Development.
The proposed River Club Development.

A court interdict filed by the organisers of the Liesbeek Action Campaign has halted the construction of the planned Amazon headquarters site in Cape Town.

In January, the members of the Liesbeek Action Campaign, which includes indigenous groups and environmentalists, filed for an urgent court interdict against the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust and the City of Cape Town.

The legal battle sought to permanently halt the construction of the Observatory-based River Club, which is owned and operated by the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust.

The construction seeks to turn the treasured piece of land into a commercial and residential development, which is expected to house several companies, with US retail giant, Amazon being an anchor tenant on the premises.

The members of the Liesbeek Action Campaign are concerned the construction on the floodplain between the Black and Liesbeek rivers would lead to the land losing its historical significance and result in increased risk of flooding and environmental exploitation.

They also alleged that illegal construction procedures were followed without the approval of all parties involved, in an attempt to hasten the building of the site.

According to Reuters, the Western Cape division of the High Court has interdicted the project developer from continuing with the construction at the Cape Town site, until all parties have engaged at length regarding the matter.

"This matter ultimately concerns the rights of indigenous peoples...the fundamental right to culture and heritage of indigenous groups, more particularly the Khoi and San First Nations Peoples, are under threat in the absence of proper consultation," Judge Patricia Goliath said in her ruling, notes Reuters.

The interdict hearings were held in the Cape Town High Court from 19 January, where all parties were given an opportunity to respond to the complaints.

The battle has been going on for over a year, with several protests taking place outside the site and a petition signed by over 1000 people being submitted to the Planning Appeals Advisory Panel.

While Amazon was not named as a respondent in filed papers, the City of Cape Town has in the past argued that the US giant would contribute significantly to job creation and economic development of the province.

The development is expected to help create up to 19 000 indirect and induced jobs.