CoCT went against own policies to accommodate Amazon HQ developers - Jenkins

High Commisioner of the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council, Tauriq Jenkins, said that the province and city governments chose not to protect the land.

An artist's impression of the new R4 billion mixed-use space at the River Club. Picture: https://theriverclubct.co.za/gallery/

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape and Cape Town governments have once again come under fire for their role in the destruction of a Khoi cultural heritage site.

Khoi activists took them and developers of Amazon's African headquarters to the Western Cape High Court last week, seeking an urgent interdict against the build.

Aside from the underlying river system, it marks the site where indigenous South Africans first victoriously fought off colonialists.

During the three-day trial, Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath heard of how the site was originally awarded a protection order by Heritage Western Cape, to give them time to assess its cultural value.

But the move was later overruled by an interministerial committee.

High Commissioner of the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council, Tauriq Jenkins, said that the province and city governments chose not to protect the land.

"Government's response - the Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town - they've pretty much stuck to the paradigm they have chosen. We have of course been contesting this for the past four years because they have ignored and have been blind to the objections that we have made," Jenkins said.

Depite the pending legal action, Amazon's HQ developers, Liesbeek Leisure Property, have already begun construction on the Observatory river banks.

Jenkins said that this has deeply disrespected the country's indigenous peoples and snubbed the fight against climate change.

"The property trust had signed off their contract with Amazon before the environmental assessment had even been approved and we believe that the City of Cape Town has bent over backward to accommodate this developer. The City of Cape Town decided to rezone this piece of land to accommodate 150,000 square metres of concrete bulk on a flood plain, which goes against its own environmental policies," Jenkins said.