We go into the new year with our campaign against the River Club happening on several fronts
The Interim Interdict halting construction issued by Judge Goliath in March 2022, was overturned by a full bench of the High Court in November 2022. However, the OCA has appealed that decision, in particular the cost order made against the OCA. So, the decision of the High Court is now pended until the appeal is heard. We are confident the cost order will be overturned since the judgement ignored existing case law and provisions of the National Environmental Management Act that explicitly protect community organisations from costs when seeking to secure environmental protections under law.
The recission application against the High Commissioner of the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council, Tauriq Jenkins, removed his authority to represent the GKKITC in court and removed the GKKITC from the court application. However, he has now appealed that decision, which again pends the outcome of the court finding. He has argued in his appeal petition that the court misdirected itself on multiple grounds when not allowing his affidavit into the court proceedings and not affording him sufficient grounds to defend himself.
The South African Heritage Resources Agency, SAHRA, is currently considering issuing a Provisional Protection Order over the River Club site and conducted validation meetings in November in preparation for its decision, which is likely to be made in February 2022. If SAHRA confirm the site as a place of national heritage importance, it will substantially affect how the High Court considers the approvals given for the development.
Lastly, the Cape High Court now has a new Judge President. Judge Hlope was removed by the President following a long process by which Judge Hlope’s impeachment was delayed. The Deputy Judge President Goliath, who was the Judge who ruled in our favour in the interim interdict, is now the Acting Judge President. Since Judge Hlope’s delay in appointing a judge in our contempt proceedings, and his elision of the recission matter to the appeal were both questionable processes which contributed to the legal mayhem that beset our court case, a better run High Court is definitely in everyone’s interests.
We await the outcomes of the two appeals and will proceed rapidly to the Review Stage where we believe our case is strong.