The founder of the Krotoa of the Goringhaicona says he told developers to target Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council leader Tauriq Jenkins
The founder of Krotoa of the Goringhaicona, an organisation which favoured the development of the River Club site in Cape Town, has revealed that he urged the developers to target the leader of the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council, which opposed the development.
Ebrahim Abrahams says he told the landowners, Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust, to target Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council Supreme High Commissioner Tauriq Jenkins and the Paramount Chief Delroque Arendse.
Now Abrahams says the three people who convinced the court the council was in favour of the development were not in fact members of the council, but of his own organisation. His claim is backed up by three other people who were involved, who have submitted affidavits to Jenkins to use in any further litigation.
Abrahams told Mother City News that though he had initially suggested the developers target Jenkins, he has gone public with his revelations because of what he calls the “lies” that were being told about the Goringhaicona.
According to Abrahams, a splinter group from the Krotoa of the Goringhaicona claimed to represent the council, with attorney Tim Dunn approaching the court on their behalf to depose Jenkins, who had a mandate to initiate litigation against the developers.
Led by Jenkins, the council had opposed the development since 2016 when the landowners, Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust made known their intention to develop the 14.7 hectare site they bought from Transnet in 2015 for R12-million. Transnet had used the land as a recreational centre with a nine-hole golf course, which the property developers continued to run until shortly after the City of Cape Town gave it the go-ahead to develop in September 2020.
History of opposition
The Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council, along with the Observatory Civic Association (OCA), opposed the development throughout the various planning and public participation phases. They said the land, which is the original site of colonial dispossession where the Dutch forced the Khoi from their traditional grazing lands at the confluence of the Black and Liesbeek Rivers, should be a heritage site. They proposed alternative solutions that respect the history of the site and its importance to the Khoi and San.
The multi-storey development broke ground in July 2021, resulting in the council and the civic association approaching the high court and obtaining an interdict halting construction from Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath. In the judgment, Goliath said the fundamental right to culture and heritage of indigenous groups was under threat because they had not been properly consulted.
When the developers resumed work in June 2022 after being granted leave to appeal Goliath’s judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal, the council and civic association launched a contempt of court application against the continued construction ahead of the appeal hearing. This was overtaken by an application for intervention in the case brought by attorney Tim Dunn who said he was instructed by the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council. Dunn argued the council was actually in support of the development and Jenkins was a fraud who was not elected to the position he claimed, and had no mandate to initiate litigation against the developer on behalf of the organisation. Judge President John Hlope later ordered the appeal hearing and an application to rescind Goliath’s judgement be heard together. The appeal and recission hearing took place on 11 October last year before a full bench composed of judges Hayley Slingers, Elizabeth Baartman and James Lekhuleni.
Advocate Anton Katz, briefed by Dunn, accused Jenkins of fraud, of misrepresenting his authority in the council and of “bullying” First Nations leaders into signing affidavits opposing the development. Jenkins, who appeared without legal representation, was not allowed to submit his approximately 1,500 page affidavit countering the accusations because it was late.
Baartman’s subsequent judgment of 8 November last year rescinded Goliath’s judgment, stating it had been obtained by fraud on Jenkins’s part. Jenkins’ subsequent application for leave to appeal was denied last month, and he intends to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The Observatory Civic Association has since bowed out of the fight following cost orders against it, reaching a settlement with the City of Cape Town to cease any further legal action in relation to the River Club development.
According to Abrahams, whose claims are supported by affidavits from three other Goringhaicona members, the court was not deceived by Jenkins, but by the three applicants in the recission application who claimed to represent the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council. Abrahams and the others state the three were in league with Jody Aufrichtig, director of the property development trust and his team, to represent themselves as the council although they were not members of the council at the time, but of the Krotoa of the Goringhaicona. They then formed a splinter group within the Krotoa of the Goringhaicona and brought the recission application as the council in order to discredit Jenkins on behalf of the developers, says Abrahams.
Abrahams, who was once a Supreme Senior Chief of the council, said he had a fallout with its leader, Paramount Chief Aran (Delroque Arendse) and resigned in March 2022.
The same month, he said, he was invited to a meeting in Athlone where, among others present, were Edmen Hansen, Shiraatz Mohammed, and Peter Ludolph, who approached him to “open a new tribe”. Hansen, Mohammed, and Ludolph were the three applicants in the rescission hearing who claimed to represent the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council.
Abrahams said although he had been a senior chief of the council until March 2022, he had never met Hansen, Mohammed, and Ludolph, and they had not been present at the last AGM held in December 2021. He said records show Hansen had been part of the council but had left in 2020. Meanwhile Jenkins had been Supreme High Commissioner of the council in 2020 and re-elected at the AGM in December 2021 where he gave feedback on litigation against the River Club developers, which was “always applauded”, said Abrahams.
The new tribe, Krotoa of the Goringhaicona, which was in favour of development at the River Club, was agreed upon in March 2022, and Hansen, Mohammed, and Ludolph were among its members.
Later, Tania Kleinhans-Cedras, who was a member of the First Nations Collective, a Khoi grouping led by Zenzile Khoisan which has fought in support of the development since November 2019 and has given a platform to Aufrichtig, invited Abrahams to a meeting. Abrahams said she requested his help as “things were not going well for the developers and their supporters”. He said a meeting was set up with Aufrichtig at Nando’s in Vangate Mall. “We discussed the case and how I could assist them.” He said he advised Aufrichtig to go after Jenkins, who was spearheading the litigation on behalf of the council, and Paramount Chief Aran, who suffers ill-health, rather than try to take on an entire tribe.
He said Kleinhans-Cedras then asked him to arrange a meeting of all the Krotoa of the Goringhaicona members on 26 May 2022, and she invited Dunn “under the pretext that he was going to protect our members from the fallout of the court case”. He said Dunn wanted affidavits from all the members in support of the development.
Thereafter, Kleinhans-Cedras and Dunn “stopped corresponding with me and held direct meetings with certain members that they had previously earmarked”. Abrahams said these members later approached him and told him he had been fired as Paramount Chief of the Krotoa of the Goringhaicona and Shiraatz Mohammed now held the position. When he told them this was not possible without a general meeting, they formed a “breakaway group”.
“I later discovered that this happened because somebody devised a new strategy which involved Shiraatz Mohammed, Peter Ludolph and Edmund Hansen,” he stated.
When asked who was paying Dunn’s legal fees for the rescission application, Kleinhans-Cedras said she was.
When contacted, Ludolph said he had “no comment”. Hansen, who in his affidavit to the court claimed he was Regent of the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council and Jenkins was “an imposter who engaged in a coup d’état of the Goringhaicona tribe”, referred all GroundUp’s questions to Dunn.
Dunn did not answer specific questions about Mohammed and Hansen’s positions in the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council, but said they, and Ludolph, had “at all times, conducted themselves in the best interests” of the council “and protected the integrity and dignity of their tribe”.
Dunn said Abrahams “was attempting to form his own organization, and attempting to seduce tribe members to join him under the guise of promises of varying amounts of millions of Rand being held in one or other bank account, or in cryptocurrency, either from “people with offices in the Waterfront” or “the Rothschilds”.
He said Abrahams’ attempts to get Hansen, Ludolph, and Mohammed to join his Krotoa of the Goringhaicona organisation were “flatly rejected” by his clients.
Dunn said Abrahams was “merely another imposter attempting to piggyback off their tribe for his own gain”.
He said he could see nothing in his clients’ instructions that were “in any way questionable”.
Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust, via a public relations firm, stated: “The developer has always acted professionally and ethically and with respect for all First Nations individuasl and groups’ own agency. Any suggestion of impropriety is categorically denied.”
Numerous attempts by Mother City News to get hold of Shiraatz Mohammed were unsuccessful.