Plea to MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, to save River Club land
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Cape Town - The battle over the proposed mega River Club development on "sacred land" has been moved to those who wield power at Amazon.
Activists have now turned to MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, for help.
In an open letter to Scott the Observatory Civic Association said: "We have tried our best to alert Amazon that this is not the site to destroy in order to create another mega-office complex cum commercial campus with 2000 parking bays. We appeal to you to intervene to bring Amazon to its senses."
The association also appealed to Scott's benevolent nature for financial assistance. Scott an author and philanthropist is reportedly worth US$61.4 billion (R858.74 billion) making her the third-wealthiest woman in the world.
The association wrote that "if you (Scott) wish to assist our struggle for justice in the courts, we will welcome your financial assistance".
The association has twice written to her former husband Bezos but received no reply.
Amazon is the main anchor tenant in the proposed dense mixed-use development which has met fierce opposition from some Khoi first nation groups and some organisations.
The association’s chairperson Leslie London said the organisation was puzzled as to why Bezos seemed to be persisting with supporting the development when it represented what he stood against.
Bezos has invested US$ 10 billion (R139.86 billion) into the flight against climate change.
"Amazon is his creation, and what Amazon does is what he is seen to do," London added.
Scott is a philanthropist and still owns substantial holdings in Amazon.
"If she wants to do good, we are happy to receive her support. We think she can influence Bezos and Amazon to avoid making the biggest business mistake of their lives. Amazon will forever and irrevocably be associated with modern-day colonial dispossession," said London.
The latest move by the civic association comes after the City and the provincial government gave the development the green light.
The association and some Khoi groups have objected to the development on the site which they regarded as a "unique heritage and environmentally sensitive riverine area".
"So we are left with no choice but to go to court and to have the High Court test the validity of those decisions," London said.
In the court of public opinion, more than 46 000 people have signed a petition against the development.
They said the development negated the history of resistance by indigenous Khoi peoples and their cultural and spiritual links to it.
The Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust had said the development would create jobs.