Some Khoi, San traditional leaders voice approval for Amazon Africa headquarter construction

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Traditional leader Pertus Vaalbooi voiced his support for the construction of global tech-giant, Amazon’s new headquarters in Africa, which is being built on land that is sacred to the Khoi and San community, at Observatory, in Cape Town.

Earlier this year, the High Court in Cape Town interdicted the project developer from continuing with construction at the site until there had been meaningful engagement and consultation with affected indigenous peoples.

The construction of Amazon’s new headquarters in Africa is expected to cost around R4.6 billion. However, the development is being built on land that is sacred to the Khoi and the San people.

A group that supports the construction is currently appealing against the interdict which was handed down at the High Court in Cape Town, which ordered that construction be stopped.

Vaalbooi expressed his support for the development during a media briefing in Cape Town.

“If the heavenly father can open his hands to bless this development and allow it to happen, then I give the blessing from the Boesmans for the project, because it is the grandchild of the Boesman that will receive a piece of land on a small-scale and will at least have a drop in the bucket…” says Vaalbooi.

The Western Cape First Nations Collective which represents a grouping of the Khoi and San community, says it will continue its fight in the legal battle for the construction of the development.

In March the courts granted an interim order against construction of Amazon headquaters:

They say a centre will also be constructed to preserve the history of the Khoi and San people during the construction. Chairperson of the First Nations Collective, Chief !Garu Zenzile, also welcomed Vaalbooi’s support during the briefing.

Zenzile says, “Oom Petrus has given us a clear understanding of the depth of what he’s dealing with, he’s asking the question, why are we so selfish, that we won’t want to open up a development that can bring life to this generation and for generations to come, where the knowledge and all that has come through the generations can be preserved and prosper.”

High Commissioner of the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoi Indigenous Traditional Council, Tauriq Jenkins, says he listed a group from the Khoi and San community, but not their leader, as one of the supporters of his legal action, aimed at halting the construction.

This after Vaalbooi, who visited the site, claimed that Jenkins had listed him as one of the supporters, even though the two had never even met or spoken. Jenkins told media outside the construction site that he never listed Vaalbooi as a supporter of his legal battle to stop the construction.

“The Xam Bushman Council had made a decision that it would not be in support of the development. Oom Vaalbooi is listed as one of the leaders of the Khomani. I’m uncertain about whether or not his visit here to the Western Cape is mandated by the CPA and I think that the CPA will be able to issue a statement in terms of what his actual standing is with regards to his particular visit,” says Jenkins.

It’s unclear at this stage, when exactly the appeal matter will be heard at the Supreme Court of Appeal, in Bloemfontein.

Khoisan leaders face a barrage of attacks over Amazon’s new Africa headquarters: