A court in South Africa has overturned an earlier decision which had halted construction of Amazon’s new African headquarters in Cape Town.
The initial decision came after descendants of the country’s indigenous groups, particularly the Khoi and San First Nation peoples, said the land it would be built on was sacred.
In March the court agreed to halt the project, saying that in the absence of proper consultation the fundamental right to culture and heritage of indigenous groups, particularly the Khoi and San First Nation peoples, were under threat.
The latest judgement allowing construction to continue by a full bench of the Western Cape’s High Court was welcomed by developers of the precinct as a “major win” for jobs in the popular tourist city, where class and racial divisions endure three decades after apartheid ended.
“This is a major win for all Capetonians who stand to benefit from the 4.6 billion rand ($260 million)project,” Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT) said in a statement after Tuesday’s judgement.
The court found the respondents, including Tauriq Jenkins of the Goringhaicona Khoena Council, a Khoi traditional group opposed to the project, had failed to demonstrate that the right to heritage is at risk of suffering any harm, let alone irreparable harm.
“Without a prima facie right, the respondents never got out of the starting blocks,” part of the judgement read.
The Khoi and the San were the earliest inhabitants of South Africa, the latter roaming as hunter gatherers for tens of thousands of years, and the former joining them as pastoralists more than 2,000 years ago.