High court action update

Dear LAC Supporters

A quick update:

1. We are on track to go to court – The OCA lodged its papers with the High Court on the 2nd August 2021. We sought relief on two matters: (a) an urgent interdict to halt the construction on the site, whilst (b) the High Court considers a review under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act of the decisions relating to the rezoning and environmental authorisation. Details are on our petition site and affidavits and letters of support on the OCA website.

2.We alerted the developers that any alteration of the sites in the form of earthworks, excavation or construction whilst the interdict was pending, would be at their own risk. However, we have seen the developer ignore that fact and push ahead with their construction as fast as possible.

3. Although our timeline was intended to get into court in August, in the interests of being reasonable, we have accepted that the respondents wanted a further period to prepare their responding affidavits, which will be submitted to us by the 23rd August. We will reply by the 30th August and a date will be fixed in September to hear part (a) of the matter – the urgent interdict. The wheels of legal processes grind slowly.

4. Nevertheless, we are confident our case is strong enough and the courts will not be swayed by arguments related to economic benefits now by the rapidity with which the building is progressing.

5. Additional to the interdict, the OCA lodged an appeal against the award of the Water Use License to permit infill of the Liesbeek River and the Riverine Valley. An appeal triggers an automatic suspension of the License. However, the LLPT approached the Minister to lift that suspension, which she did within a week of receiving our objections. We have yet to receive the Minister’s full and considered reasons and her letter indicating the lifting gave only the most perfunctory and unconsidered reasons. We believe that there are questions about the Minister’s action and what type of advice she was receiving. We will be taking up this matter with the new Minister Mchunu, who replace Lindiwe Sisulu in the recent cabinet reshuffle.

6. As you know, Heritage Western Cape considered our application for Provincial Heritage Status for the Two Rivers Urban Park in July and agreed with our application that the TRUP deserves heritage protection. So much so, that they indicated that the TRUP should be a national heritage site and referred it to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) for national heritage status consideration. We are actively liaising with the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) to ensure the Two Rivers Urban Park (TRUP), including the River Club site, is declared a national heritage site.

7. The OCA will be recruiting for a part-time organiser for the joint campaign – please share the attached advert with anyone you think suitable.

8. Now is the time we need financial support so any assistance from other individuals or organisations will be very much appreciated. Either at our backabuddy site or directly to our campaign account (see ‘donations’ further down for details).

Many thanks