South Africa’s High Court has temporarily stopped Amazon from constructing its planned new Africa headquarters in Cape Town on “sacred land”.
In its 18 March ruling, the court ordered the American multinational technology company to consult with indigenous Khoisan people who say the site is sacred land.
The developer, Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust, has been instructed to cease building work immediately and undertake “meaningful engagement and consultation” with the original inhabitants of the land.
Part of the ruling by the Western Cape Division of the High Court in Cape Town said:
The fundamental right to culture and heritage of indigenous groups, more particularly the Khoi and San First Nations Peoples are under threat in the absence of proper consultation.
The fact that the development has substantial economic, infrastructural and public benefits can never override the fundamental rights of First Nations Peoples.
Tauriq Jenkins, a spokesman for the indigenous people’s Goringhaicona Khoena Council told Bloomberg that he was aware of the ruling.
Jenkins added that they “will now proceed with the review with favourable prospects.”
The City of Cape Town approved the construction of the Amazon site, saying it will create thousands of jobs and give a boost to South Africa’s economy.
However, the plan was condemned by members of the Khoisan people who want their cultural heritage to be preserved.