The Liesbeek Action Campaign calls on South Africans to join the Amazon strike #MakeAmazonPay on Black Friday, November 26 at the Liesbeek River. This comes after the American multinational conglomerate announced they will build an Amazon campus at the site.
The campaign opposes the proposed construction as the river is a sacred site for native people. The San and Khoi, Goringhaicona, Observatory Civic Association and indigenous peoples will also join workers and activists.
“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 when we hand over a petition of over 57 600 signatures to Jeff Bezos so he can see this is a mass movement saying NO to the destruction of sacred heritage and NO to the environmental degradation,” said the campaign.
The movement said it has joined #MakeAmazonPay to remind the world that the struggle against the River Club development is a global struggle because Amazon doesn’t appear to care what impact is has on workers, communities, and the environment in whatever country it operates.
The campaign criticised the Amazon CEO for running an exploitative organisation and said his space flight was a waste of money. “We see the same indifference here at Observatory as it shows when it exploits its workers and prevents their unionisation and dodges taxes. Amazon is one of the most powerful corporations on the planet, until recently headed by the world’s richest person, founder Jeff Bezos.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon became a trillion-dollar corporation, with Bezos becoming the first person in history to amass $200 billion in personal wealth. He recently gave $2 billion for Climate Change mitigation, but, at the same time, thinks nothing of spending $5.5 billion on a joyride into space for 4 minutes.”
According to the campaign, the building of the headquarters will reduce Cape Town’s climate resilience and harm an environmentally sensitive area slated to be part of a coast-to-coast greenway and national heritage site.
“The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) are busy proceeding with a grading of the site as a national heritage resource while the developers plough ahead with indifference, constructing Amazon’s behemoth buildings that will forever destroy the intangible heritage of a key,” said the campaign.
The campaign drew parallels between Amazon and the Dutch East India Company and said the 21st century corporation could get away with the same kind of brutality. “Same colonisers, different ships... The struggle against the River Club redevelopment is therefore a struggle against corporate injustice,” said the campaign organisers.