Amazon River Club development

Artist impression of River club development. Source:

Amazon on hold! R4.5 billion Cape Town development stopped by courts

The Western Cape High Court has once again brought Amazon’s River Club development to a HALT. Here’s why…

Amazon River Club development

Artist impression of River club development. Source:

The River Club development has been in the works for years since 2016 in Cape Town. The development is set to include the new Amazon headquarters and is set to cost R4.5 billion. It’s also been packed full of controversy, legal challenges and protest. This week, one of those ongoing legal challenges brought the matter screeching back to a halt.

River Club back on hold as Amazon made to wait

In a decision handed down this week, Western Cape Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath found that the developers have not been following their engagement commitments. Goliath has granted an interim interdict ordering the developers to “consult meaningfully” with all affected parties.

The land being used for the development in Observatory, has historical links to the Khoi and San groups. Goliath has now found that the group’s right to culture and heritage is now under threat as result of the lack of consultation.

However, Goliath made it clear that the court’s decision is not a criticism against the development.

“The core consideration is the issue of proper and meaningful consultation with all affected First Nations Peoples. The fact that the development has substantial economic, infrastructural and public benefits can never override the fundamental rights of First Nation Peoples.”

Judge Patricia Goliath

History and nature

Goliath also found that there was prima facie evidence to show that “irreparable and imminent harm” would come to the groups, if an interdict was not granted.

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The River Club site holds various ceremonies and gatherings of various First Nation groups. If completed, the development is set to include an indigenous garden and cultural and heritage media centre.

Developers have said that any delays in the construction could lead to job losses and investors pulling out.

The City of Cape Town is also on the side of the developer. The metro says the economic and environmental benefits of the development will be huge.

Let’s see what the latest round of consultations can achieve.