This article first appeared in the 28 June 2022 edition of the Cape Argus newspaper.
Cape Town - The establishment of a permanent First Nations indigenous heritage precinct within the development at the River Club at Observatory at the weekend received unanimous backing during a conference of indigenous leaders deliberating the restoration of First Nations descendants in South Africa.
Conference delegates, who included leaders of the royal houses of the San, the Korana, the Griqua and all the major Khoi tribal and cultural councils, unanimously agreed to give their backing to the Western Cape First Nations Collective (WCFNC) in its social compact with the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT).
WCFNC spokesperson Chief Zenzile Khoisan said delegates travelled from Upington, Kimberley, the Garden Route, the Cederberg, the Karoo, the Overberg and across the Cape Peninsula to participate at the conference which was held in Rawsonville.
He said the conference also resolved that the leaders and structures would actively support the WCFNC in the on-going court battle to see the River Club development become a model to fight for Khoi and San heritage installations nationwide.
The conference was held as the LLPT recommenced work at the River Club site pending the final determination of the applications for leave to appeal the judgment and orders handed down by Western Cape deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath.
LLPT spokesperson Thabi Ndhlovu said this phase of work would result in 380 construction workers returning to work and earning an income again.
“This is not only good news for construction workers who will be back on site again, but also for every South African who stands to benefit from the many economic, social, heritage and environmental benefits that will be delivered by the redevelopment on this private property.”
Last week SA Federation of Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said 750 construction workers had their short-term contracts suspended when the Western Cape High Court halted the development and blamed the job losses on the LLPT.
Vavi’s remarks received support from the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council’s High Commissioner, Tauriq Jenkins.