River Club development highlights questionable process by City of Cape Town

Lalou Meltzer & Jens Horber – 27 October 2022

he River Club development on the Liesbeek River highlights questionable processes undertaken by the City of Cape Town in relation to members of a large and influential group of property developers. This is exactly what Crispian Olver has written about – particularly in his book, A House Divided (2019).

Leslie London and Tauriq Jenkins have been leading a campaign with local activists, including a range of Khoe leaders, environmental groups, civic associations, unionists, faith-based organisations and social justice activists to stop this high density, over-bulked, massive concrete development, which boasts Amazon as an anchor tenant.

The city granted approvals for the development by rezoning property formerly zoned as open space to allow a 150,000 square metre development to proceed. The property involves state (Transnet) land that was privatised and sold to Liesbeek Leisure Properties (LLP) in 2015 and immediately transferred to the current owner, the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT). The Transnet selling price was R12-million plus VAT but a few months later, when a bond was raised from Investec, the price had ballooned to R100-million. The development is now billed as a R4-billion+ investment project…