Amazon's property agents involved in alleged conspiracy to unseat Khoi leader

The Goringhaicona's battle with Amazon over Liesbeeck headquarters has dragged on for several years, as they aim to protect the river from exploitation





Jan 20, 2024

Amazon's property agents involved in alleged conspiracy to unseat Khoi leader

The legal battle surrounding the R5 billion Amazon-headquartered development at River Club in Cape Town persists, as lawyers representing high commissioner Tauriq Jenkins seek to overturn a ruling declaring him an illegitimate leader on behalf of the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council (GKKITC).

The Goringhaicona are the nation who signed the first two treaties with European settlers, known as the Cape Purchase, between Prince Manckhagou and Commissioner Arnout van Overbeek.

The treaties traded the land of the peninsula and the surrounding area which is now known as Cape Town, in exchange for certain goods, as well as a mutual security pact and common land usage, and the Goringhaicona can thus be credited as co-founders of the Cape with the Dutch East India Comapany.

Whistle-blowers have submitted four affidavits outlining an alleged conspiracy involving the developer of Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT), an associate, and an attorney to undermine Jenkins's legitimacy as a leader. This dispute gained prominence when the Western Cape High Court contested Jenkins's authority to oppose the development on the council's behalf.

Jenkins is now petitioning for the high court's decision to be rescinded, reinstating an interdict against the development. He is also calling for a criminal investigation into the accused, scrutiny by the Legal Practice Council into the attorney's conduct, and application costs.

The GKKITC, which has consistently opposed the development citing heritage and environmental concerns, plans to renew its resistance once the legitimate leadership is restored. The whistle-blowers have alleged the use of falsified meeting records and resolutions, claiming these fraudulent documents convinced the courts that Jenkins was not the rightful leader, thus eliminating opposition to the Amazon development, as stated in the Goringhaicona Council's release.

In response, the LLPT is contesting the application, asserting it lacks merit and is an abuse of the legal process. The LLPT argues that internal governance matters of the GKKITC should be addressed internally and denies awareness of Jenkins's claims, asserting the developer's adherence to professionalism, ethics, and respect for all First Nations entities and groups.

Since the provincial level trade deal organised by the DA government and WESGRO with the United States in 2020, Amazon, Pepsi and other American giants have been keen to scoop up South African industry and impose economic dependence in the region.

In response to Amazon's beachhead operation, Naspers has been increasing its investment in South African online retail like Loot and Takealot to counter Amazon's impending entry into the country's e-commerce sector.

The move is aimed at fortifying Naspers' position in the face of growing competition from global giants like Amazon and Walmart.

Takealot, South Africa's leading online retailer has strategically expanded its services, including the introduction of one-hour delivery.

Despite e-commerce currently constituting only about 4% of South African retail, there is significant untapped growth potential, with online retail sales experiencing a 30% growth in 2022.

South Africa, with its developed economy and youthful population, is an attractive market for major retail players, and Amazon plans to introduce online delivery services in the country.

more articles by this author