Cape Town - The Observatory Civic Association (OCA) says it has been financially crippled by adverse court decisions in the River Club development saga,which is why it dropped its legal battle against the City.
On Wednesday, mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced that the City had reached an out-of-court settlement with the OCA “for the complete and final cessation of all legal action in relation to the River Club development matter”.
The final blow against the OCA’s finances was the May 16 decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) denying it permission to appeal against the Western Cape High Court’s order dismissing its application to interdict the River Club development.
Despite being down the OCA is determined not to go out, and OCA chairperson Leslie London said the association still believed that the development should not have been approved because it was “in the wrong site and contrary to existing policies”.
“The OCA was forced by a pair of adverse court decisions to explore withdrawing from the review on the basis of a negotiation that the bulk of the costs in the cost orders against the OCA would be waived by the respondents.
“We have been financially crippled by these decisions and, although we believe we would still win the case regarding the validity of the authorisation decisions, we cannot continue with a financial sword of Damocles over us.”
He said the OCA would continue to ensure that sensitive environmental spaces and heritage resources were protected in the Two Rivers Urban Park.
“It is important to realise the validity of the authorisations for the development has still not been considered by the courts and would form the basis for review under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act.”
The OCA represents the interests of residents and businesses in Observatory and has partnered with more than 60 Khoi groups, environmental NGOs and civic associations in opposition to the River Club development.
In 2021 the OCA took to social media to raise funds via the BackaBuddy platform to help pay for legal action against the province’s approvals of the River Club development.
At the time London said they were raising the funds “because going to court is an expensive business”.