Philippi farmlands have been sold out to developers

Cape Times – November 26, 2013
Nazear A Sonday
Spokesperson for the save the PHA campaign
Philippi Horticultural Area

THE Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) is at a crossroads. It faces collapse through ad hoc development planning decisions, the lack of a comprehensive management plan and a lack of good political leadership.

In October, representatives of four local PHA community organisations requested a meeting with Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. This was to be a follow-up on our last meeting in November 2012 where we escalated a number of issues to ihe mayor’s desk.

Instead of meeting with us, the mayor chose to ignore us and resorted to politicising our issues and attacking me personally.

For the record, I declare I have no political ambitions. As for my political views, I believe our democracy is in peril. Our hard-fought democracy has been hijacked by the cosy cabal that exists between the political elite (ANC and DA) and big business. An example of this can be seen at work in the PHA.

An extensive public participation process that gave birth to the city’s Spatial Development Framework Policy concluded that the PHA farmlands should be protected and enhanced. But in May 2011 and July 2013, the mayor and MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell trashed this policy in favour of what developers want.

In the case of the ANC, the e-tolls in Gauteng are the latest example of how the plight and needs of ordinary people are overlooked in favour of big business. In my view it’s not so much about what political party governs us, but how our elected leaders are held accountable.

Speaking at the Press Club on November 14, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was quoted as saying; “We do take people’s appeals seriously indeed”, and that “we are holding in-depth discussions” with the “right forums”.

Surely, if the political leadership in the city and province are to arrive at a win-win solution for the PHA, all relevant local organisations need to be involved in these “in-depth discussions” and on those “right forums”. Is this not what good democratic practice is all about? Is this not what the premier herself fought for under the banner of the UDF when fighting apartheid – a democracy by the people for the people?

The PHA is part of the heritage of this city. Our urban farmers produce 50 percent of the veggies consumed in Cape Town. And this with little support from the city and provincial authorities, under whose watch crime has increased, informal settlements have expanded, dumping has increased and the farmers’ water source is being polluted.

But it’s not too late to reverse these challenges. The local PHA Vision Plan (a community-inspired spatial design plan for the PHA) has identified the challenges on the ground and has outlined how these challenges can he turned into opportunities. The plan seeks to build a win-win solution where all stakeholders benefit.

To save the PHA as the breadbasket of the city of Cape Town, local community representatives stand ready to work towards a win-win solution through dialogue and good democratic practices that are inclusive of all stakeholders. Now it’s up to our political leaders in the city and province to show true leadership.

– END –


AVAAZ PETITION Cape Town’s breadbasket and vital aquifer under serious threat/


9 comments to Philippi farmlands have been sold out to developers

  • Jane Lane

    Do not allow further loss of farmland to developers.The DA should really know better! Do the right thing if you want my vote.

  • Hop

    What can we do to help …. This is a big thing to every 1 who lives in the cape wetlands area and to all in cape town… If this land doesn’t get saved there will be a increase of unnecessary suffering … due to local costs of Veg.! STOP DEVELOPMENT OF THE WETLANDS pls people this is important to the survival of the area !

  • Julia

    What can the average person do to try protest this? Do you have any petitions etc that can be signed?

  • Keri

    We buy our food from the people who farm off this land. We don’t need further development, we need food!

  • Laura Nordling

    If you carry through on this decision then you have lost my vote and that of many others. I always believed the DA had the best interests of the people at heart which is why I have always voted for you.Now I have to rethink. You are becoming like all others – interested primarily in money and possible personal gain. The wetlands in Phillipi have a purpose in the whole ecology of this city. A large number of people get their livelihood from the wetlands. Also many people buy their vegetables from them. If the wetlands go then there will be more pollution from added transport bringing produce into the city. Development is a shortsighted solution. If you need more land then reclaim more of the ocean. It’s been done once….

  • Jackie Ruppersberg

    Plse help us to keep our area a farm area.

  • nazeer

    DA councilors probably forgot the email that was sent to them prior to their voting in council where these facts were offered to them. The email pleaded with them to vote for the people of this city and not in the narrow interests of the party. The fact of the matter is the DA councilors were whipped into voting the party line or face disciplinary hearing and even suspension. The mayor and the DA caucus sold out the PHA to developers. If the PHA is lost and i hope Capetonians will not allow this to happen, this will be the lasting legacy of the DA in Cape Town.

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