US online retail giant Amazon has announced that they will be establishing their South African headquarters in Cape Town.
The news has been welcomed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) as the project has the potential to provide around 19,000 jobs for Capetonians.
According to Business Insider, the construction phase alone is set to provide an estimated 5,239 jobs and could provide an estimated R4 billion boost to the Western Cape’s economy.
Dean Macpherson, DA Shadow Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, released a statement addressing the monumental project.
“The announcement highlights that the City of Cape Town has set itself at the forefront of investment and economic development in the country while keeping local concerns front of mind. 31 900 m² of the development is intended for residential purposes that will include affordable housing opportunities.”
Many provinces in South Africa have been economically devastated by the extended COVID-19 lockdown, including the Western Cape. Macpherson states that this development will offer “many economic, social and environmental benefits for the area,” which could help revive a devastated local economy.
According to IOL, the new development will create a 150 000 square metre mixed-use space that will be divided into commercial and housing uses across two precincts. The City of Cape Town has also stated that the residential portion of the development will include affordable housing opportunities.
The River Club development has been marred by controversy, with many opposing the project’s construction, including housing activists, residents in Observatory, Khoi and San councils.
Speaking on the backlash, city mayor Dan Plato stated:
“The planned mixed-use development will be a significant boost to the economy and the people of Cape Town in the aftermath of the national Covid-19 lockdown.”
“The city has carefully and thoroughly considered all of the submissions and concerns during the appeal process. We are acutely aware of the need to balance investment and job creation, along with heritage and planning considerations. It is clear that this development offers many economic, social and environmental benefits for the area. We are committed to driving investment to revitalise the economy, which is slowly recovering following the impact of Covid-19,” said Plato.