5 May 2022

Dear <<First Name>>,

This afternoon Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath released her ruling on the appeal mounted against the interim interdict that was granted the OCA and Gorinhaicona: 

Full details are found in our newsletter below as well as a selection of press articles since the appeal was heard on the 14th of April.

Kind regards

Edwin Angless
OCA Comms


Our Constitution stands up to the Test again – Judge Goliath dismisses leave to appeal on the River Club interdict
Today Judge Goliath issued another clear and firm judgement that reflects the primacy of our Constitution in determining the validity of administrative decisions.

She dismissed the applications by the Liesbeek Leisure Property Trust (LLPT), the City of Cape Town, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and the First Nations Collective for leave to appeal her March 18th judgement interdicting any further construction at the River Club pending conclusion of the High Court Review and the undertaking of meaningful consultation. She considered all of their arguments and found them without merit. Since any appeal would therefore not have any reasonable prospect for a successful outcome at a different court, she turned down their leave to appeal.

The respondents also claimed that the interdict was effectively a measure that created a final decision before the review process could happen, which would render the interdict appealable. She was not persuaded by their arguments regarding the so-called ‘irreparable harm’ to be suffered by the LLPT and the “wider community” or “persons who would otherwise have benefitted from the development, directly or indirectly.” She agreed with our counsel’s arguments that the developer proceeded in full knowledge of the likely court challenge and that there was no compelling evidence of irreparable harm to the respondents, who would have every opportunity to argue their case in the forthcoming review proceedings. She reaffirmed the legal argument that “the protection of the constitutional rights of indigenous groups was a crucial consideration in my finding that the interim interdict was appropriate in the circumstances. I am accordingly satisfied that the intrusion imposed by the interim interdict is mandated by the Constitution itself.”

We believe the significance of this finding reaffirms the strength of our Constitutional Democracy. Government authorities are not above the law and cannot make decisions without public consultation processes that are meaningful, particularly where they impact permanently on the rights of indigenous people.

Moreover, in awarding costs against the respondents, she specifically flagged the point that “Courts are loath to encourage wasteful use of judicial resources and of legal costs by allowing appeals against interim orders that have no final effect.” We ask the City and the Province to explain how our rates and being used to fund failed legal strategies that have no prospect of success and merely used to bully citizens when they exercise their rights.

We thank our legal team, Cullinans and Associates and our counsel Jane Blomkamp and Senior Counsel Advocate Alan Dodson, for their steadfast legal work to secure this victory. The environmental, heritage and planning considerations will now be fully examined in the High Court under PAJA without the threat of the developers building themselves literally into an impregnable position with concrete upon concrete on a sacred floodplain.

We remain confident that the courts will find that the decisions to approve the development were invalid and unlawful.

Issued on behalf of the OCA and the Gorinhaicona

See the full ruling here
Recording of the appeal hearing
Click here to download a copy of the recording of the hearing.
Our past is being destroyed
The Southern Suburbs Tatler - 21 April 2022

Thomas Johnson, Belthorne Estate

Monica Sutherland’s letter (“River Club development will destroy heritage,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, April 14) is spot on.

She asks the key question about development: why here? This is relevant when other, perhaps more suitable, sites are available. For the developer it’s easy: tenants do not desire property where the riff-raff jobless, who do menial labour for them, live but in nice, easily accessible middle-class suburbs. So the job-creation argument is disingenuous and invalid.

In its statement Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT) unequivocally rejected the suggestion for the site to be returned to its “original state”, saying it’s “neither viable or feasible, nor desired by the majority of the Cape Peninsula Khoi”...

Working at Amazon Is Hazardous to Your Health
Alex N. Press - 19 April 2022

A new report shows just how dangerous it is to work at Amazon. Injury rates last year at Amazon warehouses were 20 percent higher than the already alarmingly high 2020 rate — and more than twice that of non-Amazon warehouses.

Amazon’s workplace safety issues are getting worse, though you wouldn’t know it judging by the statements made by those at the top of the multibillion-dollar corporation...
Liesbeek Biodiversity Challenge
Just a reminder for those who wish to to participate in the Liesbeek Biodiversity Challenge for the City Nature Challenge 2022.

Click here to find out more.
Turning a Canal into a River: Liesbeek, Cape Town
Click here to watch a YouTube video about an exciting project that shows how a canalised section of an urban river in Cape Town is being turned into a river that supports habitat, adds amenity, and involves local citizens, community organisations, Dutch Foreign Ministry, and students and staff from the Universities of Cape Town and Rotterdam.
Follow the Money and find out why this was approved

29 APR 2022 — 

Firstly, an appeal. We are completely reliant on Crowd Funding to cover our legal costs. If everyone who signed this petition was willing to donate R20 (or $1), we would be able to fight our court battle on an even footing. So, please help us fund our legal costs by making a donation – for whatever amount you can - at our fundraising site. Donors outside of South Africa might find it easier to donate via our BackaBuddy site.

Heritage and the Environment – to make it matter, we need your donation!
27 APR 2022 — 

Today was Freedom Day, commemorating our first elections under a democratic South Africa. Today we held our second Freedom Day walk to affirm that the sacred heritage and precious environmental wetlands of the Liesbeek are not for sale. Rich and powerful people in our city think they can secure administrative decisions in their favour by claiming economic benefits for all. But they were proven wrong in the High Court on March 18th when Judge Goliath issued the interdict to halt construction at the River Club pending the High Court Review...
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