Cape Town’s long term food and water security under threat

Future Cape Town is concerned to hear of the recommendation by the Mayoral Committee to be presented at Council on 31 July 2013, which will rescind the decision of May 2012 to postpone the release of land within the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA), pending a Food Systems Study.

The Food Systems Study could provide valuable insight into this sensitive area and the issue of Cape Town’s long-term food security. A strategic awareness of the value of this food security, and of the underlying aquifer as a water security asset, seem to be absent from the city’s planning.

If approved, this decision will open the door to housing at urban scale on agricultural lands which cannot easily be rehabilitated once built on. The city’s pre-empting of its own study amounts to an unacceptable risk to the future of Cape Town.

In a climate of rising fuel and input costs, the PHA is ideally located within the city and is thus an important insurance policy against runaway food prices and for our access to affordable and fresh food.

Says Rashiq Fataar, Director of Future Cape Town: “We remain puzzled by the constant contradiction between decisions taken and the City’s own policies. Not the least of these is the Cape Town Spatial Development Framework – drawn up after 5 years of extensive engagement – as well as the Development Edges policy. Food security and water security remain two of the major threats facing cities around the world, and while the demands of urbanisation place an increasing strain on Cape Town, sufficient land exists elsewhere to develop housing if the relevant parties are willing to make an effort.”

We would recommend that the City of Cape Town remove this item from the Agenda, pending the outcome of the Food Systems Study.

Issued by Media Office

Future Cape Town

Notes to Editors:

  1. Future Cape Town is an independent non-profit think tank advocating for progressive urbanism and the future of our cities.