Soil turning ceremony at River Club grounds

Alan Winde (WC Premier), Geordin Hill-Lewis (CT mayor), Zenzile Khoisan (leader of the First Nations Collective), Yusuf Mohamed (our Ward councillor), among others, were in attendece at the sod-turning ceremony at the River Club on 20 March 2024.

As you know many organisations opposed the development, including environmental groups, indigenous councils and social justice activists on grounds that the development was bad for the environment, irrevocably destroyed the irreplaceable intangible heritage and was poorly conceived as an urban space development. The approvals were even opposed by arms of the City and Provincial government for those very reasons.

It is a great tragedy that a vast amount of money was spent to ensure the Review of the approvals could never be heard in court and the 22 Khoi and San Councils and Organisations opposed to the development could not tell the judge why the development is an insult to their heritage – you can still read those affidavits on our website.

That the developer has now chosen to associate the site with the title of the upmarket luxury apartments they are building on a sacred river course – Riverlands – is entirely appropriate because it reveals exactly what this development is about – maximal return on investment. Apartments at the Riverlands will be sold for between R1.8 and 4.4 million. We don’t hear the developers advertising affordable housing. It’s simply about the money.

Ironically, the River that has been infilled to create a swale is the last remnant of the original Liesbeek River, much engineered over time, which heritage experts warned should be retained for the establishment of the Khoi-San liberation trail.

– Lelie London