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30 July 2021

 

Dear LAC supporter

Apologies for not having kept you updated since June, but we have been very preoccupied with, amongst others:

 - Establishing international contacts to support out campaign to get Amazon to withdraw from the River Club development

 - Appealing the issuing of the Water Usage Licence. (This was referred to the Minister responsible who unfortunately just rubber stamped the application and ignored our objections)

 - Preparing our affidavits to submit with our High Court appeal to STOP the River Club development.

This latter matter is now reaching its final stage and we will be releasing a press statement early next week to keep everyone abreast of this process.

Warm regards

Edwin Angless - LAC Communications

UPDATES FROM OUR CHANGE.ORG PETITION SITE
Below you can find some recent updates from our Change.org campaign.

NOTE - Please only sign and do not donate to change.org as that money does not
come to us but serves only to boost the petition.


To stay updated on all of the recent updates to this website, visit the OCA website.
 
Please join us in this battle and sign our petition
over 65,000 have signedLet’s get to 100,000!
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The Two Rivers Urban Park is of National Heritage Significance!

23 JUL 2021 — 

Yesterday, the Council of Heritage Western Cape (HWC) considered our application for Provincial Heritage Status (called Grade II status) for the Two Rivers Urban Park (TRUP). Our application had been pending for more than a year, during which time the developers secured approvals to proceed with the redevelopment, which we are now going to challenge in Court.

When we submitted our application in February 2020, we said that “The River Club is part of the Two Rivers Urban Park and a Provincial, if not a National heritage site.” Yesterday, the HWC Council agreed with us. They decided that the TRUP is of very high regional significance, so much so that they believe it should be a National Heritage Site (Grade I status) and will submit the nomination to the South African Heritage Resources Authority (SAHRA), which is the only body able to declare national heritage sites. The South African Astronomical Observatory was declared a national heritage site in December 2018. Now we can look forward to the entire TRUP being declared a National Heritage Resource.

But for that to happen, we need your financial support for going to court to review the redevelopment approvals to ensure that the developers do not start to build on the land before it is graded. Please donate at our fundraising site to Make the Liesbeek Matter!

Why is Heritage Western Cape convinced that the Two Rivers Urban Park is a site of outstanding heritage value?........

read more
Business Live finally published our right of reply

I write in response to what we believe is biased reporting on the River Club redevelopment (“Amazon office developers keep Cape Town’s heritage in mind”, July 4, and “Zenprop lying about River Club project, says professor”, July 6).  

First, it’s a puzzle that Zenprop can claim the redevelopment is anything more than a moneymaking exercise by speculators. The development will place 150,000m² of concrete on a flood plain of high environmental sensitivity and huge heritage significance for first nation Khoi groups, and infill a sacred river.

It is a site nominated for provincial and national heritage status based on an expert heritage study and is slated for nomination to Unesco as a world heritage site. It is part of the National Khoi and San Heritage Route, a presidential legacy project.

The development is fiercely opposed by more than 60 indigenous first nation entities, civic associations and environmental NGOs, and more than 56,000 people have signed a petition opposing it. The fact that the developers have found some Khoi leaders willing to support the development does not change the fact that the majority of Khoi groupings see this development as an insult and do not accept that a media centre, amphitheatre and indigenous herb garden justify the permanent destruction of intangible heritage....

read more
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Support the campaign by buying a Make The Liesbeek Matter T-shirt!
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For Volunteering to sell the T-shirts. 

You can collect them after 12 noon any day at Ferdinandos Pizza 205 Lower Main Rd. We have created packs for you. You will need to sign them out. 

T-shirt sales are R200 . 

I am placing the Snapscan code here so people purchasing can directly see this image and use Snapscan or you can take the cash and either donate directly to our bank or drop the cash with Joy   +27 (72) 949-4600   In Trill road observatory.

Bank details -  

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Observatory civic Association  

Current account, Mowbray 

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APPEAL TO THE WATER TRIBUNAL AND APPLICATION

Dear registered Interested and Affected Party, 
 

1)      On 10 June 2021 the Observatory Civic Association (OCA) was informed by the relevant authority, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS),  that the LLPT was granted a water use licence (“WUL”) for the re-development of the River Club property. 

2)      On 23 June 2021, the OCA lodged an appeal with the Water Tribunal against the decision by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to grant the WUL. 

3)      In terms of law, the appeal of the OCA has automatically suspended the operation of the LLPT’s WUL until the Water Tribunal has decided the appeal. 

4)      The LLPT applied to the Honourable Minister Sisulu of the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation to lift the suspension.   

5)      On 14 July 2021 the OCA submitted comments on the LLPT’s application for the upliftment of the suspension. 

6)      There has been no date given as to when the Minister will make a decision on the LLPT’s application for the upliftment of the suspension. 

We requested the Water Tribunal to inform the Interested and Affected Parties of their entitlement to lodge an appeal. However, the OCA was informed by the Tribunal that the OCA should do so. 

  

I am therefore writing, in line with the response of the Water Tribunal, to inform you that you have the right to submit an appeal against the decision by the DWS to grant the WUL in terms of section 148 of the National Water Act, 1998. 

  

Should you have any further queries in relation to submitting an appeal, please contact the Water Tribunal Appeal at Madimabe Sibongile MadimabeS@dws.gov.za / Paulus Thelma Kgomotso PaulusT@dws.gov.za

  

Furthermore, should you have the intention to submit comments on the application of the LLPT to uplift the suspension on its WUL, please address the comments to the Honourable Minister Sisulu and submit your comments to Tshifhwa Manwadu ManwaduT@dws.gov.za; Bronwyn Roxanne Naidoo  NaidooB@dws.gov.za / naidoobronwyn51@gmail.com; and Ofentse Ntshabele  NtshabeleO@dws.gov.za

  

At the link https://we.tl/t-kN5vq0HNlU, you can access the following documents: 

-          The LLPT’s Water Use License; 

-          The Record of Recommendation by DWS; 

-          A copy of the OCA appeal against the WUL; 

-          A copy of the LLPT’s application to the Minister for lifting the WUL suspension. 

The WeTransfer link above is open for 7 days and will expire on the 22nd July 2021. 

  

Yours sincerely 

  

Leslie London 

OCA Chairperosn 

Reverend Rachel Mash's Facebook post
cick to see post and video

Dirty tricks develop at the River Club

From Mother City News 30 June - 26 July

A defamatory letter to author MacKenzie Scott, whose ex-husband was Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, was attached to a complaint recently sent to the BackaBuddy crowdfunding platform the Observatory Civic Association is using to raise funds for its legal challenge to the R4.5bn River Club development.  

The Observatory Civic Association is one of a number of civic organisations, together with ten Khoi traditional houses and organisations, who have been opposing the proposed development of the River Club site on the banks of the Black and Liesbeek Rivers in Observatory.  

The main grounds for their and other organisations’ opposition to the construction of a massive office, retail, and residential complex with eight-storey-high buildings and containing Amazon’s new African headquarters, is that it is being built on a floodplain, within the Two Rivers Urban Park which has been proclaimed as open space, and on land that is sacred to the indigenous inhabitants of the land, the Khoi....

read more
City wins the irony award

From Mother City News 30 June - 26 July

In what is either a well conceived counter-intuitive public relations manoeuvre, or the possibly embarrassing result of a democratic process, two of the people who have been leading the persistent and dedicated opposition to the River Club development have been presented with civic awards. 

The City of Cape Town – with the exception of the Environmental Management Department – have supported the River Club development every step of the way. 

On 29 June, two of their most vocal critics, individually received community service awards from subcouncil 16 chair Matthew Kempthorne at a Covid controlled ceremony.  

Observatory Civic Association chair Professor Leslie London received the Leadership Award, while  

Chair at AIXARRA Restorative Justice Forum at UCT’s Centre for African Studies, Tauriq Jenkins, received the Community Bravery Award....

read more
Cape Dwarf Chameleon sightings
Below is a map showing the recent sightings of Cape Dwarf Chameleons at the River Club. The Cape Dwarf Chameleon is a threatened species, facing the prospect of endangered status. The River Club developement poses a major threat to their natural habitat.
Report Back on the HWC Hearing
  1. The meeting was of the full Heritage W Cape Council plus officials plus IAPs. About 40 people attended. It was chaired by the HWC chair Mandla Mdludlu. I think he was quite fair. The new CEO was present but did not say a word. 

  1. There was an agenda of four main items. We were number 3. They wasted a lot of time on Number 1 arguing whether the consultation over declaring the Athlone power station a PHS should or shouldn’t include the traditional circumcision site on the land next door and overlapping with the power station erf. Who is the lawyer for the City – none other than Nick Smith, the LLPT’s lawyer… get that! 
    [as an aside, how exactly is it a done deal that a single building in Athlone can so easily be put on a PHS grading agenda when we have been fighting for years to get TRUP graded…?] 

  1. Item 2 was a kind of formality for a heritage application in Napier near Bredasdorp 

  1. Item 3 was our submission 

  • Firstly, the original agenda listed it as application for Provincial Heritage Status for the River Club. Seemingly a clerical error, corrected in the main agenda for the meeting 

  • What was presented was a surprise. Instead of processing our application and initiating the formal consultative process, the IACOM (not sure where it was decided, actually) recommended that the application be submitted to SAHRA because TRUP is most likely of national significance. So, what was presented to HWC Council was the idea of referring it to SAHRA. Marc, myself, Tauriq, Greg Fick all spoke to the importance of HWC taking responsibility as the competent heritage authority for the province fulfilling its provincial mandate to protect provincial heritage. I pointed out the multiple imminent threats, because of other planning processes, and that when faced with imminent threats, HWC tried a protection order. As Tauriq put it, they should be taking up the cudgel and saying they are with us on our mission to world heritage. 

  • Then, the usual suspect appeared on the stage with their disinformation: 

                                                               i.      Gerber (DPWT) trying to make out like it was all too confusing to do anything because HWC hadn’t consulted them anyway in deciding to refer it to SAHRA; also claiming the same nonsense that was in the TR LSDF HIA (rejected by HWC in November) about dispersed heritage – implying not everything was PHS status. 

                                                             ii.      Smith (LLPT) trying to belittle the IAPs (he named Tauriq, myself, Marc as speaking flowery language) and then raising the usual procedural stuff. 

                                                           iii.      Nigel Titus – a great disappointment; also joined the bandwagon of process objections. This was the same tactic used by LLPT, City, DWPT and DEADP in the Provisional Protection Order Appeal – their arguments were thrown out in the final directive, but it’s clear that they now how to obstruct a process. 

                                                           iv.      But it didn’t work – I hope so, because the responses from all of us was, there is no reason for HWC not to proceed with a Provincial application while the matter is also referred to SAHRA. Heidi from SAHRA was in the meeting and agree with that point – so there is nothing to stop HWC proceeding. 

                                                             v.      Interestingly, Smith was asked to apologise for his demeaning language which not fitting for a public event where we are dealing with matter of heritage – he did so in the most perfunctory way. But I think he was trying to rile us up and distract us into fighting with him so as to stop the provincial application. So, in that he failed. 

                                                           vi.      The Council agreed to go into a closed session at the end of the meeting to finalise. I hope they will follow through on the suggestion, supported by SAHRA, that they proceed with a provincial grading process, whilst simultaneously seeking National grading via SAHRA. 

                                                          vii.      What was abundantly clear was that there was no question in HWC’s view that TRUP was of high significance and warranted grading as a Provincial Heritage resource, and no opinions expressed to the contrary (except hidden in Gerber’s mutterings). In fact, most of the HWC appeared fairly convinced it could be a national  resource. 

                                                        viii.      But the issue is whether HWC moves on the provincial grading. Let’s hope that closed session agrees. 

  

  1. The last item was to do with BoKaap. Weirdly, Steven Townsend pitches up on the side of the BoKaap civic, while Smith is on the side of the owner of the property who wants to build something seemingly ugly and inappropriate, and opposed by BoKaap Civic. Mike Scurr, whom Naomi was going to approach to help us on the River Club heritage affidavit, lines up with the property owner, alongside Smith. Just goes to show …  

  

So, at the end of the day, I think we made a strong set of points. What is clear is that 

  • HWC thinks TRUP is at least Provincial Heritage Status 

  • They were all set to refer it up to SAHRA but have now a proposal on their agenda to parallel process the provincial heritage application with a SAHRA referral, confirmed as perfectly OK by a SAHRA official. 

  • The City and LLPT and DPWT will try to obstruct this with objections due to parallel processes that they have initiated. But if HWC stick to their rules, this process must go ahead and it will be hard for them not to grant TRUPA provincial heritage status, given the evidence and given their previous positions. Harry Houdini will be nothing compared to any HWC escape from PHS grading of the TRUP. 

  • More likely is a long process of attrition by LLPT and their assistants in various government department using process complaints to block. Next time they accuse the OCA of a hidden agenda in snarling up their Water License, I will quote Smith back to his face. 

  

Marc and Tauriq can add 

  

Let’s hear what transpires 

  

Thanks 

  

Leslie 

 
 

Claremont Main Road Mosque invites LAC members to present the Friday nasiha
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Leslie London explains the background of our campaign
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