Vote: The Wescape Development

In light of today’s news confirming the decision by the Western Cape Government to approve the amendment to the urban edge to accommodate Wescape, we thought we would ask our readers to vote to get a sense of the public view on the matter.

About: The R140 billion Wescape mini-city proposal, under the banner of CommuniTy-grow is a major development by  Ariya Projects, ARG Design, Bellandia, Target Projects and Pact Developers. It is set to include 200 000 homes and a population of 800 000 near Melkbosstrand, 25km from Cape Town. 

Related articles:

  1. 7 ideas to tackle urban sprawl
  2. Wescape and the future of Cape Town
  3. Wescape: Privatising the profits and socializing the risk?
  4. Why I am against the Wescape development

Read the full decision below:


As the competent authority in terms of the Land Use Planning Ordinance, 1985 (LUPO) I have decided to approve the amendment of the City of Cape Town’s Spatial Development Framework (CTSDF) in terms of section 4(7) of LUPO, to amend the City’s Urban Edge to include the land earmarked for the proposed development known as WesCape within the Urban Edge. The applicable land units are as follows: Remainder Portion 1 (Klipvalley) of Cape Farm No. 41, Remainder Cape Farm (Lange Rug) No. 36, Cape Farm (Lange Rug) No. 37, Cape Farm (Brakkekuyl) No. 38, Cape Farm (Brakkekuyl) No. 39, Cape Farm No. 1244, Cape Farm No. 1509, Cape Farm No. 80, Portion 1 of Cape Farm (Klein Zoute Rivier) No. 84 and Cape Farm No. 78.

The site falls within the West Coast development corrider, which the City of Cape Town has earmarked for future development. It should also be emphasized that the approval does not give the applicants development rights, but rather provides them with an opportunity to submit rezoning, environmental authorization and subdivision applications, all of which will include the full statutory public participation processes required by legislation.

The development site covers approximately 3 100 ha and is located in the City of Cape Town’s Blaauwberg Planning District, just north of the M19 (Melkbosstrand Road), and falls between the Atlantis railway line and old Mamre Road to the west and the N7 to the east, and extends to the north of the R304 (Philadelphia Road) just to the south of the Dassenberg Smallholdings.

The development proposal is for a large scale urban development on the site, over the next 20 years. The development concept includes the provision of approximately 200 000 dwelling units, in approximately equal proportions (± 25% each) for subsidised housing for incomes less than R3 500/month; lower “gap” housing for incomes less than R7 500/month; upper “gap” housing for incomes less than R15 000/month; and semi-detached and free standing housing for incomes of more than R15 000/month. There is to be a range of unit types, ranging from seven storey apartment blocks to two or three storey walk ups and some single storey buildings, resulting in a range of housing opportunities. A light manufacturing zone, business and retail nodes are proposed to provide residents with employment opportunities that are close to home. Approximately 200 000 employment opportunities are envisaged.

My decision was informed by considering the inputs by various stakeholders. It should be emphasized and noted that this application was pitched at a level of decision making for the purpose of amending the CTSDF’s urban edge in the identified area. The applicants will now have to submit rezoning, environmental authorization and subdivision applications.

Many of the stakeholders that have participated in the process thusfar, including the City of Cape Town’s Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning Committee, its Mayoral Committee and its officials, have justifiably raised various concerns, which will be addressed during the rezoning, environmental authorization and subdivision applications that will be submitted in future. Some of the key issues to be addressed in these future applications, which will also include the full statutory public participation processes applicable in terms of the relevant legislative prescripts, will be:

Bulk infrastructure capacity and provision;

Transport planning and traffic impacts;

Ability to implement the Koeberg Nuclear Emergency Plan;
Alignment with the City of Cape Town’s Densification Policy;
Loss of agricultural land;
Loss of critically endangered ecosystems in terms of the City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity Network;
Social Impacts; and
Impact on the Blaauwberg cultural landscape.

My Department will be involved as a commenting and decision making stakeholder during the further application processes to follow and will therefore have the opportunity to influence those processes and decisions at that stage.

It is important to accept that the proposed development falls within a long term (20-30 years) category of land use planning. There is therefore a timing issue (phasing) which will be addressed in the LUPO rezoning and subdivision (and EIA) applications. The application for the amendment of the CTSDF should be viewed through this longer term lens.

The City’s “Cape Town Growth Options” Planning Report (2012), amongst others, state: “Spatial growth modelling undertaken by the City’s Spatial Planning and Urban Design Department reflects that developable land inside the urban edge has the capacity to accommodate housing development up to 2021.”

The WesCape development applicant has indicated that even if all the approvals were to be obtained, the first phase will only likely commence in about seven years’ time i.e. in 2020/21. This is when, according to the City’s own CTSDF calculations, enough land will not be available within the City’s current urban edge to accommodate the actual demand. It must also be noted that some of the last land inside the current urban edge in the West Coast development corridor is private land and might not be available for development by 2021. This will require other “available” land to be included in the urban edge to cater for the projected demand up to 2021.

In the face of a changing planning legal regime, where Local Government has the obligation to manage its own planning affairs, and where Provincial Government has the obligation to support Local Government in managing these affairs and to coordinate alignment between Municipal and Provincial decision making, the focus should be to combine capacity and efforts to serve the long and short term interests of the citizens affected by planning decisions.

We have attempted to do this in the consideration and approval of this CTSDF urban edge amendment application and which is why I conveyed my support for the conditions of approval as set out in the Municipality’s Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning Portfolio Committee’s report to the Executive Mayor and that these conditions and requests for more information be addressed during future environmental and planning applications for development rights for the proposed WesCape development.

Anton Bredell, Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning



There are 6 comments

  1. barend

    Instead of expanding outwards and closer to Koeberg, rather expand upwards like most other cities do in areas that are safer. Already the evacuation route is not suitable for emergencies and by adding to the load, one might as well not even attempt to escape should there be an explosion/catastrophe. Why not create more high rise buildings in areas such as Rugby, which is in closer proximate to the city decreasing the load on transport, than building out there in the middle of nowhere. Developers and the government should really stop thinking horizontally and start thinking vertically.

    1. Hans

      You have a good suggestion but immagine the logistics involve of creating high-rise buildings where people currenttly lives? And who must attemp this task of telling people they must sell or move for a high-rise.

      Wescape is not starting today or tomorrow. The planning started 6 years ago and will continue for another 3 to 4 years before they start a 20 year building process. By then what you suggested may also have started. But “someone” needs to do it.

      Also remember that Koeberg will be closing down in the not too distant future and Cape Town identified the development corridor already in the “Cape Town 2025” document.

      Our current plans are not solving the housing issue. Here is developers risking their own money. I say, lets see what happen. At least they are trying to do something.

      1. Rouen Smit

        What about moving the functions of Ysterplaat Airbase (if any at the moment) out to where Wescape is proposed and use the Ysterplaat area for a highrise/Wescape development which is closer to every part of the City and will no create further sprawl.

        With regards to Koeberg closing… I don’t see that ever happening with our electricity supply issues in South Africa. Even if it is proposed in the Cape Town 2025 document, it would be senseless to close it even in the next 20 years.

  2. K

    Other than the horrendous precedent set by the amendment to the urban edge, my concern is scale. Style and aesthetic preferences aside, no successful public realms or city spaces have been created at this scale without becoming bland and characterless. My opposition is more about the manner in which land parcels are apportioned to maximize the creative and diverse input from citizens and city makers. For all intents and purposes, we are talking about another town. Crazy.

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