Development of dodgy tricks at the River Club

30 June 2021 by Steve Kretzmann

A defamatory letter to author MacKenzie Scott, whose ex-husband was Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, was attached to a complaint recently sent to the BackaBuddy crowdfunding platform the Observatory Civic Association is using to raise funds for its legal challenge to the R4.5bn River Club development.

The Observatory Civic Association is one of a number of civic organisations, together with ten Khoi traditional houses and organisations, who have been opposing the proposed development of the River Club site on the banks of the Black and Liesbeek Rivers in Observatory.

The main grounds for their and other organisations’ opposition to the construction of a massive office, retail, and residential complex with eight-storey-high buildings and containing Amazon’s new African headquarters, is that it is being built on a floodplain, within the Two Rivers Urban Park which has been proclaimed as open space, and on land that is sacred to the indigenous inhabitants of the land, the Khoi.

In late 2019, a number of Khoi and San structures who organised themselves as the First Nations Collective, made a 180 degree turnaround and came out in support of the development. Thereafter, Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust director Jody Aufrichtig announced that a first nations media centre, an indigenous garden, an amphitheatre for Khoi and San ceremonies, street names and first nations symbols would be accommodated in the development precinct…

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