The River Club in Liesbeek Parkway. file image
The River Club in Liesbeek Parkway. file image

Liesbeek Leisure Properties claims interdict application to halt redevelopment is filled with lies while applicants say they have misled the public

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Nov 30, 2021

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Cape Town – The Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT) has kicked back saying the Observatory Civic Association and Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin (OCAGKK) Indigenous Traditional Council’s interdict application to halt redevelopment is tainted with misinformation and lies, while the other parties have included a 50-page affidavit which was submitted to the Cape High Court with their application, claiming they were aware of the heritage issue.

The LLPT said in a letter to the Weekend Argus that the land’s redevelopment would give way for 6 000 job opportunities and is not being opposed by the City of Cape Town.

It argued that the information released by the two parties, the OCAGKK Indigenous Traditional Council’s was filled with misinformation and lies while the parties have indicated that they are lawfully qualified to speak on heritage and history and that LLPT knew this would be a topic of discussion and opposition.

The OCAGKK Indigenous Traditional Council have been rallying to stop the redevelopment, stating various reasons such as that it is a heritage site and have since gained support from 56 000 people who have signed a virtual petition together with 60 organisations.

In their statement, LLPT said 60% of the land would be utilised for greenery and made available for the public: “The River Club land is privately owned and will remain so, irrespective of the outcome of the court case.

“Their entire campaign against the project is based on lies and misinformation including the online petition that they sent around, which was riddled with falsehoods.

“For this very reason, petitions of this nature hold no weight and are completely disregarded by the authorities when considering a development application and by the courts.

“Second, the project will deliver a mixed-use development that will include offices, retail space, housing of which 20% will be developer subsidized inclusionary housing.

“Over 60% of the redevelopment will also be retained as green space that will be accessible to the public.

“The project will also include a number of features focused on celebrating the rich heritage and history of the First Nations including a Heritage, Cultural and Media Centre.

“That said, all the respondents in the case including, the LLPT, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government have opposed the interdict application on the basis that there are no valid grounds to prevent the redevelopment going ahead in light of the comprehensive environmental and development planning approvals that have been granted and the many benefits that the project will deliver to the people of Cape Town and the Western Cape.

“The respondents are also of the opinion that the interdict application will not be successful because the OCA and GKKT have failed to prove the four requirements for an interim Interdict: there is no prima facie right because preserving the degraded River Club mashie golf course, restaurant and parking lot would not protect any heritage or environmental resources.

“There is not no reasonable apprehension of irreparable future harm, because if the development proceeds it will clearly only benefit the site’s heritage and environmental resources, because the golf course and parking lot were never conservation worthy, and because the site has already been changed by more than four months of construction;

“What is even more disingenuous, is that the group has lodged their application in order to “protect” the First Nations’ heritage, despite the majority of the Cape’s Khoi and San leaders and representatives’ being in vociferous support of the project, including those of the Gorinhaiqua, Gorachouqua, Cochoqua, Korana, Griqua Royal Houses, and the San Royal House of Nǀǀnǂe.

“This is why the Western Cape First Nations Collective have also joined as an 8th respondent to the court matter.

“And of equal import, Heritage Western Cape (HWC) has not supported the interdict to attempt stopping the development.”

“To date, these groups have produced no tangible evidence that shows their environmental and heritage claims are based in fact or have produced any expert assessments or relied on any specific and relevant research or specialist study to discredit the comprehensive ecological, socio economic, visual impacts and heritage impacts (and benefits) assessed in the specialist studies included in the impact assessment process undertaken by the LLPT.”

“Instead, they have relied on spreading lies about the River Club property and the redevelopment and the developers.

“With construction well under way, LLPT looks forward to delivering a development that presents many benefits for the people of Cape Town and the Western Cape including over 6 000 direct job opportunities at a time when our economy needs it most.”

In August the former Mayor Dan Plato said the City stood by its decision and that all criteria required would be met.

He added that those opposing the development had a self-interest agenda and were using it for petty politicking.

Tauriq Jenkins, the Supreme High Commissioner of the Goringalcoma Khoi Khoin Traditional Indigenious Council said LLPT were aware the site was being sited for heritage status.

In his affidavit which was sent to Weekend Argus, he said he had a vast knowledge on history and heritage and had a Master’s of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University and an alumnus of the International Fellows Program (IFP) at the School of International Public Affairs at Columbia University.

“LLPT received a copy of the nomination on the February 27. They knew that for a fact.

When the article was written, LLPT also knew that the Heritage Western Cape Council would be discussing the nomination on the July 22 – since LLPT has been invited to attend as a stakeholder – we saw the email and LLPT were copied.

LLPT attended the HWC meeting where the matter was discussed

“So, despite knowing that the site has been nominated for provincial heritage status, LLPT publicly state ’it is not true that the site has been nominated for provincial heritage status’.”

“Case closed. Please put this concrete piece of evidence to LLPT and ask them to explain why they should not have to answer why they are not circulating misinformation.

“‘They have persistently used the claim that we are misinforming the public but have never been able to demonstrate misinformation

“On the contrary, it is LLPT that has misled the public – Tannenberger is a simple case in point.”

Weekend Argus

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