Indigenous South Africans oppose Amazon HQs in Cape Town
Indigenous South Africans are opposing the construction of the headquarters of American online giant Amazon in Cape Town, South Africa saying it will destroy their heritage.
A Cape Town on Thursday continued to hear a suit brought by these indigenous communities that oppose the putting up of a gigantic edifice in the area. Construction is already underway for Amazon’s 262 million U.S. dollar, African headquarters on land that Khoisan communities hold sacred as a site of their early resistance to European colonizers in 1510.
Amazon says it could pull out of a deal to create its Africa headquarters in Cape Town, if the legal challenge by indigenous activists is allowed to proceed.
The Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council and a neighbourhood association have asked the Western Cape High Court to halt construction.
A lawyer for the property developers, the Liesbeek Leisure Property Trust, told the court that Amazon has signalled it will pull out of the project if the delay is granted.
“If Amazon has indicated, even directly, that it’s not going to tolerate any further delays, that’s not hearsay evidence,” advocate Sean Rosenberg told the court. “That’s direct evidence of what Amazon’s intentions are.”
“The much more likely possibility is that this project will not go ahead, given what has happened up until now, given Amazon’s impatience, given Amazon’s indication,” he added.
Amazon itself is not named in the case. The hearing is expected to conclude Friday.
Once hunter-gatherers, known under the now-discarded label of Bushmen, the Khoisan suffered deeply under colonization and apartheid.
Many in their community say they still endure wide social inequalities and economic opportunities today, and their past remains overlooked.