A South African court has overturned a decision to suspend the construction of Amazon’s controversial African headquarters in Cape Town on land that descendants of the country’s original inhabitants, the Khoisan, consider sacred, we learned on Wednesday.
In a legal battle that has lasted for months, justice had suspended the project in March, considering that the fundamental right to culture and heritage of the Khoisan peoples was threatened.
But the Cape Town court overturned this decision on Tuesday in a judgment of which AFP has a copy, finding that the activist representing indigenous groups in court, Tauriq Jenkins, was not legitimate to do so and that he has “misrepresented the point of view of certain indigenous representatives without consulting them”.
Some Khoisan groups have lent their support to the proposed complex on a former golf course at a cost equivalent to 224 million euros (4 billion rand), after its promoters agreed to build a historical and cultural center which will be managed by the natives.
But the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council is opposed to the project approved by the municipality. “We are deeply disappointed,” for their part expressed the opponents of the project in a joint declaration. “We do not believe that the facts presented to the court enabled the latter to render a fair judgment.”
The Amazon group is not mentioned in the procedure. Formerly hunter-gatherers and long referred to by the now abandoned name of Bushmen (men of the bush), the Khoisan suffered deeply from colonization and apartheid. They are still victims of great social and economic inequalities.