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Activists’ ’time to reclaim the River’ delayed, as judge falls ill

The River Club lies behind the Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary Nature Reserve. File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency

The River Club lies behind the Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary Nature Reserve. File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency

Published Nov 23, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Activists seeking to halt the controversial River Club development will have to wait a little longer for their day in court, after the presiding judge fell ill.

The Observatory Civic Association (OCA) and the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council were due in court on Wednesday and Thursday to seek an interdict of the destruction of the Liesbeek Riverine Valley.

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It follows the approval of the redevelopment of the River Club to house a 150 000 square metre commercial complex on what the organisations describe as a sacred floodplain.

“However, we learnt last week that Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath, who was allocated to hear the case, has fallen ill.

The hearing will not be taking place on November 24 and 25.

A date is still to be confirmed,” the organisations said.

The high court review to decide on the appropriateness of the decision to allow the development to proceed, has been preceded by an interdict to halt any further construction whilst the high court review proceeds.

This was to be heard on Wednesday and Thursday.

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The Forest People’s Programme, an international NGO dedicated to empowering indigenous organisations to promote an alternative vision of how the environment should be managed, meanwhile has also applied to join the case as a friend of the court, to bring perspectives based on international law and indigenous people to the case.

The respondents, the City, Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, and Liesbeek Leisure Property Trust (LLPT) are also attempting to strike out various parts of the OCA’s affidavit, including any reference to SAHRAs grading of the River club as a National Heritage site, and of the affidavit that confirms that Amazon has and had other choices to locate their HQ.

On Friday, the Liesbeek Action Campaign will be joining a global protest to #MakeAmazonPay, in which thousands of workers and activists will rally in over 20 countries across the globe.

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“We will reclaim the River as a protected life-giving entity that can’t be buried to make way for 150 000 square metres of concrete; and we will hand over a petition of over 57 600 signatures to Jeff Bezos so he can see this is a mass movement saying no the destruction of sacred heritage, and no to environmental degradation,” the organisation said.

Cape Times

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