South Africa: Court Greenlights Construction of Amazon Headquarters – South African News Briefs – November 9, 2022

Cape Town — Construction of Amazon’s Cape Town Headquarters Gets the Go-Ahead

The Western Cape High Court has ruled that construction of Amazon’s planned offices at the River Club development site may continue, TimesLive reports. The ruling comes despite complaints lodged by indigenous people and their supporters opposed to the R4.6 billion project due to its location at the confluence of two rivers, the ancestral home to the earliest Khoi and San inhabitants in Southern Africa. It carries cosmological, spiritual and environmental significance to these indigenous groups.

In its judgment, the Western Cape High Court ruled: “On the contrary, the papers indicated the development might enhance the land’s resources, having regard to the degraded state of the site when the authorisations were granted.” Amazon has sought to expand its presence in Africa by building data centres and planning additional offices in Johannesburg and Lagos, Nigeria.

Govt Plans Contingency Against Public Service Workers’ Strike

The Public Service and Administration Department has said that measures have been taken to guard against a planned strike by government employees, Eyewitness News reports. This comes as the Public Service Association (PSA), which represents over 240,000 workers, prepares to deliver a memorandum of grievances to the National Treasury. The government’s decision to unilaterally implement a 3% increase despite calls from public sector unions for 10% and 6.5% have prompted workers to issue threats of disruptions at government offices. Despite the Department of Public Service and Administration saying it won’t allow disruptions, government rather called on trade unions to begin wage negotiations for the 2023/2024 financial year.

Superyacht of Sanctioned Russian Tycoon to Arrive in South Africa

The 465-foot (142-meter) Nord belonging to Alexey Mordashov is expected to arrive in Cape Town in a bid to make safe harbour from sanctions which have led to the seizure of more than a dozen vessels, BusinessTech reports. The U.S.$500 million superyacht posted its arrival date as 9 November following its departure from Hong Kong bn October. It did not transmit its location since 26 October after it entered Sumatran waters, an area known for piracy and where it is not unsuaual for ships to disable transponders.

Mordashov, Russia’s, third-wealthiest citizen, has been sanctioned by the European Union, U.S., and the UK. This came after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. South Africa, toghether with Hong Kong, asserted that it would not enforce the bans with the government saying last month: South Africa has no legal obligation to abide by sanctions imposed by the US and EU,” Vincent Magwenya, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman, said. Over a dozen vessels estimated to be worth over U.S.$2.5 billion and connected to multiple sanctioned Russian billionaires have already been seized by the U.S. and Europe.

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