Amazon’s new Africa headquarters draws protests from indigenous people
Indigenous people are planning a protest over Amazon building a new headquarters on a heritage site in South Africa, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.
Protesters are planning a demonstration on Youth Day, a public holiday in South Africa that commemorates “the 1976 Soweto Uprising of school children against apartheid education policies.”
Tauriq Jenkins of the Goringhaicona Khoena Council told Bloomberg that his Khoi traditional group opposed the new project being built on their land, citing environmental grounds and heritage as a reason.
“Companies like Amazon are expatriating particular kinds of menace which they would not do in their own countries,” Jenkins told Bloomberg. Jenkins said that 50,000 people from various groups have opposed the new development.
Jenkins added that they want the area to be designated as a world heritage site, Bloomberg noted.
Amazon announced in April the 4 billion rand ($291 million) development plan to build a headquarters on the outskirts of Cape Town.
The city approved the new plan, saying that it will create thousands of jobs and boost an economy affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A Cape Town mayor’s office spokesperson told Bloomberg that some in the Khoi group have approved of the new Amazon development.
“There has been extensive input on how the Khoi heritage of the area would be respected and memorialized,” the spokesperson said.
The protest will take place between a central museum and a statue of 17th Century colonialist Jan van Riebeeck in Cape Town, according to Bloomberg.
The Hill has reached out to Amazon for comment.