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Activists head to High Court to halt R4.6bn River Club development

The Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council and the Observatory Civic Association (OCA) will have their case heard in the Western Cape High Court over the next two days as they seek an interdict to stop the R4.6bn River Club redevelopment currently underway in Observatory.
Activists head to High Court to halt R4.6bn River Club development

"The fact that the developers have advanced in construction at Precinct 2 is the result of administrative decisions made which exercised extraordinary discretion in favour of allowing the development to proceed before all approvals have been secured," the parties, including the Lieskbeek Action Campaign, alledge.

"We believe the High Court judge will consider our arguments to be rational and based on the evidence, and will put a stop to the construction so that the High Court can review the decisions in question that have allowed a private developer and the City and Provincial authorities to destroy a sacred floodplain."

The Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust, the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government and the Western Cape First Nations Collective will be opposing the application.

Support of First Nations leaders, groups

James Tannenberger, trustee and spokesperson for the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust, in a statement has said that the applicants have "tried to mask the fact that not only will the redevelopment of the private, under-utlised and degraded property bring enormous benefit to the people of Cape Town, but that it also has the support of the majority of First Nations leaders and groups in the Western Cape (known as the Western Cape First Nations Collective) including the Gorinhaiqua - the recognised historical custodians of the Two Rivers landscape of which the River Club property forms 5%".

The project, he noted, will include several heritage features including a Cultural, Heritage, and Media centre, an indigenous garden, heritage eco-trail and garden amphitheatre to function both as sites of memory and living cultural practice and celebration.

"It is unfortunate that a small group of individuals appear hellbent on blocking this world class redevelopment when it is evident that there would be an enormous loss to the people of Cape Town should this project be stopped," said Tannenberger.

Watch the live stream of the court hearing taking place this week here.

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