On the 22nd July, through ‘Twitter’, one Gareth Pearson asked Patricia De Lille (Mayor of the City of Cape Town) and Helen Zille (Western Cape Premier) the question “how can a city/prov pushing *‘110% green’ make such questionable decisions around foodsecurity and the PHA? (Philippi Horticultural Area)
The response from Helen Zille (Western Cape Premier) was: “There are huge tracts of land formally in the PHA that have not been farmed for decades. Please get the facts.”
* (110% Green is an initiative of the Western Cape Government calling on organisations to commit to the Green Economy)
OK! SO HERE ARE THE FACTS!
On 29 May 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, was only thwarted by a number of councillors refusing to approve the measure. The matter has not gone away. It was on MAYCO’s agenda for the 16th of this month but has been postponed until August.
Now we learn that at the MAYCO meeting on the 16th of this month 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 can be built there. 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 and very telling visual perspective of the applicable areas:
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 there’s good reason for this. The South-East quadrant contains significant tracks of land which have 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 applications comply with the tenets of the Cape Town Spatial Development Framework or the ‘Cape Flats District Plan’!
Sources and reference:
- City of Cape Town Conservation and Biodiversity Zone MAP – Cape Flats district plan – http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/Planningportal/Pages/CapeFlatsdistrictplan.aspx
- RECOMMENDATIONS OF PHILIPPI HORTICULTURAL AREA TASK TEAM – City of Cape Town (900 kb file)
- THE ROLE OF PHILIPPI HORTICULTURAL AREA IN SECURING THE FUTURE OF THE CITY – City of Cape Town (1.3 Mb file)