Protesters wearing Jeffery Bezos masks stood on a Cape Town street corner on Friday and railed against a planned office precinct development that will house the African headquarters of retail giant Amazon.
Bezos, founder of Amazon and the second richest man in the world, according to the Forbes Rich List, has been targeted by opponents of the River Club development who say his link to the project contradicts his environmentally-friendly public persona.
Friday’s protest near the site of the new development, on the banks of the Liesbeek River, also formed part of a worldwide “Make Amazon Pay” protest led by an activist group opposed to Amazon’s labour policies.
Observatory Civic Association chairperson Leslie London, a prominent University of Cape Town public health professor, said the protest was aimed at persuade Amazon to choose a different office site.
“We are allied with other groups who believe that Amazon is not behaving in a socially responsible way,” London told TimesLIVE. “We believe Amazon could have chosen differently, and can still choose differently.”
If successful in court, SA property developer Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust could be compelled to restore the land to the condition it was at the time of purchase.
Tauriq Jenkins, a Khoi traditional leader and AIXARRA Restorative Justice Forum chairperson, said Bezos and the SA government were turning a blind eye to the desecration of a Khoi sacred site.
“Today we are objecting against the current bulldozers which are on site,” Jenkins said at the protest, against a backdrop of cranes and cement trucks servicing the development site, which used to be state land.
“Today we are objecting against the current bulldozers which are on site. As each day goes by there is permanent and irreparable damage happening on that ground,” Jenkins said.