The facts: Philippi Horticultural Area

meet aug 6

The background:

On 29 May there was an attempt, sponsored by the mayoral committee (MAYCO) member for Economic, Environmental & Spatial Planning (EE&SP), to remove all authority from sub-councils concerning land use planning applications and with it, the public’s right to participate in the decision-making process. Only a few council members refused to approve the measure and the matter was postponed until August 2013.

It became evident that, at the MAYCO meeting on the 16th, the same EE&SP member persuaded the mayor and her colleagues to overturn a decision taken last November regarding the most productive & fertile part of the Phillipi Horticultural Area (PHA).

At their November 2012 meeting, MAYCO considered – AND TURNED DOWN – an application for an amendment to the then recently approved Cape Town Spatial Development Framework to alter the urban edge line and permit a change of designation from ‘agriculture areas of significant value’ to ‘urban development’ for an area of 281 ha in the south-west quadrant of PHA, so that a middle and lower income suburb could be built.

This application was not supported by the vast majority of the City’s departments or by the then EE&SP MAYCO member, nor, significantly, by the Western Cape Departments of Agriculture and Sustainable Resource Management who wrote jointly: “ … it is clear that all anticipated growth of the urban footprint for Cape Town can be accommodated within the demarcated urban edge. In terms of the findings of the Draft Evaluation of Developable Land within the Urban Edge (August 2010), a study conducted by the City of Cape Town, there is approximately 11,000 ha of land available within the urban edge until 2021. This application is therefore a deviation from the agreed upon spatial vision for the City of Cape Town. The (application) area is situated in an intensively cultivated (irrigated) and mining area and represents a significant portion of the PHA. The loss of high potential & unique agricultural land and amendment of the Structure Plan are not supported by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture.”

The comment about other suitable land for housing was also set out clearly last October in the City’s report “The role of the Phillipi Agricultural Area in securing the future of the City”. That report also dealt extensively with the value of the PHA as a food and mineral source and noted there are mining rights over a sizeable portion of the area in question.

There are primarily two areas for which applications have been entered. An application for an amendment to the recently approved Cape Town Spatial Development Framework to alter the urban edge line and permit a change of designation from ‘agriculture areas of significant value’ to ‘urban development’ in the South-West quadrant of the PHA. The other application was for the South-East quadrant . Both of which are dealt with below.

South-West quadrant application erven no’s:
539; 541-545; 554-558; 572; 574; 576; 578; 605-607; 609-617; 622; 626; 628; 630; 632; 634; 662; 664; 1932 and 1933

South-East quadrant application erven no’s:
579- 582; 587-591; 637-641; 652-654; 657-658; remainder erven 651 and portions of remainder erven 648, 650 Philippi Schaapkraal.

Using satellite imagery and City of Cape Town resources one has a clear perspective of the applicable areas:

South-West Quadrant

South-East Quadrant

From the Satellite imagery one can clearly see that the South-West quadrant is extensively used for farming activity, whilst the South-East quadrant not so, BUT for good reason. The South-East quadrant contains significant tracks of land which has been designated as containing critical biodiversity and ecological support areas.

By looking at these areas with respect to agriculture, conservation and biodiversity requirements, neither of these areas comply with the tenets of the Cape Town Spatial Development Framework or the  ’Cape Flats District Plan’!


Sources and reference:



There are 4 comments

  1. Dandan

    I know that allot of effort by the City of Cape Town has gone towards
    conservation, nature reserves and the legal framework that the operate
    within and this has resulted in great improvement. But as all things
    this is not perfect and this is a good example that for all the effort
    put in the job is far from done. The agricultural space must be reserved
    while the additional space available within and around the conservation
    areas must be taken up as a greater reserve area.

  2. Jaco Ferreira

    This is definitely in the best interest of the developers and will threaten the food security of many vulnerable families, and the available agricultural land and its footprint will be lost being replaced with impervious surfaces that serves no one. The ideal would be if the buildings are designed for rooftop agriculture thus the agriculture could continue and everyone benefits, sadly these options get overlooked when planning and people get marginalized when there is an agreeable solution in everyones best interest.

  3. P.S.Williamson

    The Mayor appears to be blinded by smooth talking, money orientated “developers”. Those farmers who indeed want to get out with as much money as possible are the ones who are sick and tired, exhausted, with the murder, rape, assault, theft and house breaking that expands exponentially with the UNREGULATED and UNCONTROLLED expansion of the UNPLANNED and UNHINDERED sprawl of shanty towns and squatter camps populated by people who abandoned their homes (I have seen the many, many empty HOUSES in the Eastern Cape) and came to Cape Town DEMANDING free housing, and free services but choosing not to work..
    The mantra – “No staff” and “no Money” – regardless of the increases allotted to the higher positioned officials (“competent salaries”) shows a complete disregard for their DUTY towards the people of the city.
    The City is NOT a business ! It is a SERVICE PROVIDER to the rate payers of the city. To take home salaries measured in MILLIONS is obscene in the extreme whilst there are so many services being depleted through the “lack of money”.
    They Mayor has forgotten her roots !
    Canal Walk; Milnerton Beach; Blaauwberg beach front; Ronde Vlei; Princess Vlei; Zeekoevlei; all suffering from ill considered “development” and sliding gradually into the concrete sprawl and poisoned environment. Echoing with silent concerns of city, province, big business.
    The City of Open spaces is slowly dying !

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