Be Smart About South Africa

Amazon’s Planned HQ in South Africa Halted

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 12: Protestors during the Liesbeek Action Campaign against Amazon River Club Development on November 12, 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa. It is reported that indigenous and heritage protection and conservation groups with concerned residents have slammed the development by Amazon citing that it is a destruction of a sacred heritage site that deeply violates climate change policy, including the Paris Agreement. (Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

A South African judge has put the brakes on a $270 million real estate project that includes a regional headquarters for Amazon, saying that indigenous people who consider the land to be sacred must be consulted. The Khoi and San peoples have inhabited South Africa for thousands of years. The residential and commercial development is being constructed at the confluence of two rivers, near grazing lands that hosted ceremonies and where indigenous people fought European invaders, the ruling said. The area was first developed by South African Railways decades ago as a recreational space for its workers. A golf course, restaurants and offices have since been added, according to the ruling. Amazon (AMZN) declined to comment on Monday. The US tech giant “is the intended anchor tenant” for the site and “was consulted and accommodated in the design and layout” of parts of the development, according to the ruling. The Liesbeek Action Campaign, which is fighting the development, welcomed the court’s decision, and said the site represents the “Ground Zero of resistance to colonial intrusion in South Africa … that can never be buried in concrete.”


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