Setback for Amazon’s South African office

The Western Cape High Court dealt another blow to the construction of Amazon’s new African headquarters at the Cape Town Observatory.

The developers behind the R4 4 billion River Club mixed-use complex with Amazon as an anchor tenant were denied permission to appeal a court order halting construction.

On March 18, 2022, Deputy Judge of the Court Patricia Goliath granted to prohibit ordering developers Liesbeek Leisure Property Trust (LLPT) to urgently stop construction on the site.

It also ruled that the LLPT must first have a meaningful engagement with the Khoisan groups that had sought the interdict, arguing that previous consultation processes were flawed.

Together with the city of Cape Town, the Western Cape government and the First Nation Collective, the developers have asked for permission to appeal the ruling.

The LLPT said it had consulted sufficiently with all interested parties and had the support of interested Khoisan groups and also said that South Africa would have lost approximately 6,000 direct and 19,000 indirect jobs if the order remained. in force.

“It is clear that the court did not adequately, or completely, consider the evidence that, by banning the LLPT from carrying out any construction work, the LLPT and the community at large would have suffered serious and irreversible damage disproportionate to what could be claimed by the plaintiffs and none have been proven by them, “the developer said.

The city labeled the judgment as vague and impractical because it did not clearly indicate who should be consulted and how such consultation would be considered “meaningful”.

But on Thursday, Goliath canceled the question, claiming that he had carefully considered his judgment and concluded that the arguments put forward against it were unsubstantiated.

“I have considered whether the appeal would have prospects of success and I am convinced that there is no reasonable doubt that this appeal would be successful,” its order stated.

The High Court of the Western Cape in Cape Town. Editorial credit: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.com

The LPPT said it was deeply disappointed by the decision and would have turned to the Supreme Court of Appeal of Bloemfontein to appeal the sentence.

“This is a major blow to all of Cape Town’s people who risk losing significant economic, social, patrimonial and environmental benefits,” the developer said.

“This includes 6,000 direct and 19,000 indirect jobs that will be lost – including the 750 construction workers who were working on the site when the ban was pronounced – and the Cape Peninsula Khoi is unable to manifest its assets. cultural heritage associated with the area, including the creation of a Center for Heritage, Culture and Media “.

“The provision of developer-subsidized inclusive housing, the provision of safe and accessible green parks and gardens that will be open to the public, and the major rehabilitation of the polluted and degraded waterways adjacent to the property, including the Liesbeek River, in a beautiful the naturalized river environment will also be lost, “he added.

LLPT said its legal team is investigating the ruling and will communicate further in due course.


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