Cape Town - Western Cape First Nations Collective (WCFNC) has expressed its disappointment at the outcome of its application for leave to appeal the River Club judgment regarding intangible heritage resources at the Two Rivers Urban Park.
Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath last week dismissed an application brought by the WCFNC, the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust, the City and provincial government for leave to appeal her March 18 judgment interdicting any further construction at the River Club development pending the conclusion of the high court review and the undertaking of meaningful consultation.
The WCFNC that represents a number of Khoi and San leaders and were part of the initial consultation process have a vested interest in the project after it secured hundreds of jobs for unemployed youth and several cultural and heritage features as sites of memory and living cultural practice at the site.
First Nations leader Zenzile Khoisan said they would be approaching the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and were confident that a different court and a full bench would have a more intense deliberation on the matter.
Khoisan said: “We feel aggrieved, we’ve received calls from hundreds of the young people from the Cape Flats who were working on the site and were bringing home salaries.
“They come from places like Manenberg, Eerste River, Hanover Park, Athlone and they come out of the most dire conditions and these are young people who are really marginalised.
“So we have a lot of young people that are now placed in peril and could well end up in the arms of all the social ills.
“There is no place of anchorage for us in South Africa and particularly in the Western Cape which anybody can point to and say that is a point of heritage anchorage. We’ve waited 400 years for this so we can wait for the SCA to deliberate the matter.”
However, for the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council, Observatory Civic Association, and the Liesbeek Action Campaign, the latest judgment reaffirms the strength of democracy.
They said: “Government authorities are not above the law and cannot make decisions without public consultation processes that are meaningful, particularly where they impact permanently on the rights of indigenous people.”
The Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust has also expressed its intention to approach the SCA. According to the trust the development is set to provide thousands of jobs upon completion.
Spokesperson James Tannenberger said: “This is a massive blow to all the people of Cape Town who stand to lose significant economic, social, heritage and environmental benefits.”