Judge Patricia Goliath dismissed the idea that the developer's claim to suffer financial loss was relevant. She concluded that it was fully aware of the risks being taken in proceeding with the development as it was subject to litigation.
She also dismissed the argument that the development has substantial economic, infrastructural and public benefits, because “this matter ultimately concerns the rights of indigenous peoples” and economic benefits “can never override the fundamental rights of First Nations Peoples”.
However, she said her ruling should not be construed as a criticism of the development but that the core issue was that there needed to be proper consultation before it could go ahead.
Said LLPT in its statement: "This positive assessment of the development by the judge provides cold comfort to the affected First Nations, developer and workers who have been told to leave the site, based on unsupported and the hearsay allegations of Mr Tauriq Jenkins (the second applicant). His claims that some persons or groups were excluded from consultations in the public participation processes were also only made for the first time at the hearing."
The development, which is to house Amazon's new Africa headquarters, is expected to create 6,000 direct jobs (800 of which will only be created when the development is complete) and an additional 19,000 indirect jobs, according to the trust.
"This is why the LLPT will be launching an appeal against the ruling. We cannot allow a small group, who have proven time and again that they have zero interest in an outcome that creates social, economic and heritage benefits for the First Nation People and the people of Cape Town, to block this world-class project and, no doubt, have a major dampening effect on future developments in the region, where it is sorely needed," said LLPT.
The Observatory Civic Association and the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council have said that they plan to actively pursue the High Court review, demonstrating "why the decisions to permit the development were wrong".
"The River Club is part of a precinct that is currently undergoing grading assessment as a national heritage site and which should have been declared a heritage park years ago... Until it is free of occupation, of concrete, of colonial appropriation by Amazon and the ongoing threat and destruction of our sacred river and embankments, we will not stop our campaign to establish what should be a heritage site for all South Africans," they said in a statement following the court's ruling.