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Protest planned against Amazon’s development at Liesbeek and Black River floodplain

Indigenous and heritage protection and conservation groups with concerned residents have slammed the development by E-commerce giant Amazon. Picture: Ian Landsberg. African News Agency (ANA).

Indigenous and heritage protection and conservation groups with concerned residents have slammed the development by E-commerce giant Amazon. Picture: Ian Landsberg. African News Agency (ANA).

Published Nov 12, 2021

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Cape Town - A protest against the Amazon/River Club development, is expected to take place on Friday.

Indigenous and heritage protection and conservation groups with concerned residents have slammed the development by E-commerce giant Amazon, calling it a “destruction of a sacred heritage site that deeply violates climate change policy, including the Paris Agreement”.

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The placard demonstration under the Liesbeek Action Campaign will take place from 2.30pm to 5.30pm at the TRUP mound, Corner of Observatory Road and Liesbeek Parkway.

Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council High Commissioner Tauriq Jenkins said Amazon wanted to build its African headquarters on the floodplain at the confluence of the Black and Liesbeek rivers.

“The development entails 150 000 square metres of concrete bulk, which violates environmental principles both nationally and internationally, including the Paris Agreement. Already, bulldozers have begun destroying the land – in our view this is unlawful,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins said the Observatory Civic Association and Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Traditional Indigenous Council had lodged a court interdict against the development, with the matter to be heard in court on November 24 to 25.

“Jeff Bezos has announced at COP26 that he will commit $2 billion (R29bn) toward climate change mitigation in Africa. Yet, this development is the antithesis of what he is pledging, since it is a green lung of the city, as well as a delicate ecosystem and site of endangered flora and fauna,” said Jenkins.

Observatory Civic Association chairperson Professor Leslie London said: “The problem is our leaders say nice things in grand public forums, but when it applies to local development, that commitment is discounted or goes out the window.

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“This particular development never had a climate change assessment. It's just completely antithetical to what we’re being asked to do on a global scale.”

Meanwhile, Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust said the claim that a climate change assessment was not done, was false.

“This assessment was included in the comprehensive Basic Assessment for the redevelopment which was also peer reviewed by an independent leading carbon and climate change advisory firm, Promethium Carbon, who affirmed that the project, including the rehabilitation of the Liesbeek River, will have minimal greenhouse gas emission in the construction phase and once operational will not contribute to waste emissions to the City’s overall greenhouse gas inventory.

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“There will be no destruction of a heritage site and no violation of climate change policy nor the Paris accord. The river confluence that is located a distance from the site will not be touched. Lastly the development has all rights and permits in place and is not unlawful.”

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Cape Argus

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