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A South African court has suspended construction work on a huge new business park that will house Amazon’s Africa headquarters in Cape Town after a challenge by Indigenous group.

After one year of a judicial battle between indigenous people of South Africa and the US-based technology company Amazon regarding the construction of the company’s facility in Cape Town, the country’s court announced that the building of Amazon’s Africa Headquarters is halted in South Africa. This ruling was a win for indigenous groups who have claimed this land is sacred.

According to South Africa’s court “the fundamental right to culture and heritage of indigenous groups, particularly the Khoi and San First Nations peoples, is threatened in the absence of proper consultation”. The announcement was only made public on Sunday.

The court has blocked the work on the building of Amazon’s Africa Headquarters, which was previously being used as a golf course, until there is engagement and consultation with the affected indigenous communities, according to Reuters.

The decision recognizes that some indigenous groups supported the Amazon project in exchange for the construction of a media, culture and heritage center on the site to be operated by them. However, the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Traditional Indigenous Council of Goringhaicona and a neighborhood association petitioned the High Court to halt the project.

Many people in those communities complain that they still suffer from huge social inequalities and lack of economic opportunity, and say their history continues to be ignored.

The Khoi and San peoples were the first reported inhabitants of South Africa. According to Reuters, the San roamed as hunters and gatherers for tens of thousands of years, while the Khoi joined them as herders more than 2,000 years ago.

Some of the descendants are opposed to the development of the River Club, where Amazon has plans for a hotel, offices and residences, as the complex would be at the confluence of two rivers considered sacred, the Negro and the Liesbeek.

The construction of the complex is worth roughly $ 255 million and Amazon already employs thousands of people in data hubs in Cape Town to work in the facility. The construction of the complex was seen by South Africa’s government as an opportunity to increase jobs through encouraging foreign investment in the country. According to official data, more than a third of South Africans are out of work.

A legal battle is looming over plans to build Amazon’s multi-million-dollar African headquarters on land cherished by South Africa’s indigenous Khoi San people.

Amazon is setting up its African HQ in Cape Town — a project with the promise of thousands of jobs in a country where unemployment is cripplingly high.

City authorities last month approved the construction of a nine-storey business and residential complex on a greenfield site that will be anchored by Amazon.

Its offices will provide total floor space of 70,000 square metres (7.5 million feet) — equivalent to almost 10 football pitches.

But some of the country’s first inhabitants, the Khoi Khoi and San — whose presence in the southern tip of the continent has been dated by archaeologists to thousands of years — say the project desecrates ancestral land.

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They say it lies on a battlefield in which the Khoi defended the territory from Portuguese colonisers in 1510.

“Our heritage will be completely wiped out,” paramount chief Aran Goringhaicona told AFP this week. “There is so much spiritual significance to this place.”

He represents the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoi Indigenous Traditional Council, which is among the indigenous, environmental and community activists contesting the scheme.

Led by a neighbourhood group, the Observatory Civic Association (OCA), they wrote to the developer Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT) this week stating their intention to appeal the project in the courts.

Construction of the four-billion-rand ($283 million / 234 million euro) complex is due to start little more than a month from now.

The group is also questioning environmental approvals for the riverside site, said OCA chair Leslie London.

Cape Town is already struggling with episodes of severe floods and drought — a risk that could be amplified when climate change goes into higher gear, London argued.

City authorities say the impact on floods is “minimal” and the site will be built up above the 100-year flood

Amazon, which has been operating in South Africa for 15 years, declined to comment on the development.