Construction of st The controversial multibillion-dollar River Club development in Observatory, which is slated to house’s African headquarters, is proceeding despite legal challenges.

Last week, the Observatory Civic Association (OCA) filed an urgent application for an injunction against developers Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT) for resuming work, despite a court order to stop construction, pending a contempt of court application.

After hearing the application on Friday, September 2, Justice Mokgoatji Josiah Dolama ruled that the OCA’s application was not urgent and ruled in favor of the LLPT directors who were named as respondents in their personal capacity.

This was the second time that ASA filed an urgent application to stop work on the site.

The first application, submitted by the OCA and the Garingaikon Khoi Koin Traditional Council (GKKITC), pending review of development permits issued by provincial and municipal authorities, was heard by Deputy President Judge Patricia Goliath in January.

Goliath issued its verdict on March 18, which ordered LLPT to halt construction. Judge Goliath said that if allowed to go ahead, there was a danger that LLPT would find itself in an “unassailable position” as construction, which is also to house Amazon Web Services’ new African headquarters, could be substantially complete by then. a review of development permits will be heard.

She said the developers had not consulted meaningfully enough with the Koi and San indigenous peoples, who consider the site at the confluence of the Lisbeck and Black Rivers sacred.


The heritage assessment identified the site as being of significant importance as it was here that Dutch settlers first displaced the hoi from their traditional grazing lands.

Judge Goliath refused permission for the LLPT to appeal her ruling, but the Supreme Court of Appeal subsequently allowed them to appeal. LLPT reopened the site at the end of June.

LLPT lawyers argue that the appeal, which is due to be heard by the full Western Cape Supreme Court on October 11 and 12, will overturn the High Court ruling. However, OCA lawyers argue that Goliath’s order was interim, meaning it remains in place until the court decides otherwise.

This dispute over the interpretation of Goliath’s order led the OCA to file a contempt of court application, which was scheduled to be heard on August 22. However, the contempt case was postponed and has not yet been heard.

Justice Dolama, in his ruling, dismissing the OCA’s latest application for a temporary injunction due to the delay in the contempt case, said it was “unclear” why the contempt application was not heard that day.

However, lawyer Tim Dunn, on behalf of people claiming to be the legal representatives of GKKITC, filed an application to intervene on August 22, the day of the hearing. Dan’s clients argued that GKKITC chief commissioner Taurick Jenkins, who led the organization in legal action against the development, did not have the authority to do so. Dunn’s earlier attempt to oust Jenkins in an emergency in July was struck from the emergency list by Judge Chantal Fortune.

Dan’s clients are seeking to overturn Goliath’s judgment, arguing that it was obtained by fraud because Jenkins lacked authority to litigate on behalf of the GKKITC. Consideration of the cancellation application together with the appeal is scheduled for October 11 and 12.

In a joint statement, Jenkins and OCA Chair Leslie London say Dunn’s failure to file documents by Aug. 19 in that regard resulted in the contempt case not being heard on Aug. 22. Jenkins and London state that “he is disappointed [judge Dolamo] did not admit it.”

With the contempt hearing adjourned and construction continuing apace, the OCA, now acting on its own due to the allegations against Jenkins, has instructed Cullinan & Associates solicitors to apply for a temporary injunction to stop further work on the River Club site.

In a statement posted on Facebook, LLPT welcomed Dolam’s ruling and said work on the site “continues legally”

Dolamo, however, ruled that the application was not urgent, saying any urgency in the matter was created by the applicant, who is the OCA. As a result, he did not decide whether Goliath’s order was final or interim, leaving that for contempt hearings.

It also allowed GKKITC, represented by Dunn, to waive the development permit review and be named as a defendant in the case, rather than as an applicant.

The OCA’s statement said it was unclear what Dolamo’s findings meant “in relation to those who claim to represent” the GKKITC, as they had not sought relief in relation to the appeal against the original Goliath order.

The OCA said the contempt hearing had not yet taken place and the court could still find that the resumption of work at the site was illegal.

In a statement posted on Facebook, LLPT welcomed Dolam’s ruling and said work at the site “continues lawfully” pending the outcome of an appeal against Goliath’s order, which will be heard on October 11 and 12. — Steve Kretzmann, © 2022 GroundUp

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