Save The Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA)
|Dear Friends, we need your urgent action! Please see the letter I wrote below and which was published in this week’s Cape Times. This matter, believe it or not, is THE most important issue for Cape Town, since it affects EVERYTHING else profoundly, especially food security, job creation on future small farms with maximum labour force instead of machinery, and our collective ground water security since the PHA is THE sump for the massive groundwater system under the Cape Flats.
Please remember this moment in time – this is not a political battle, though the politicians will no doubt try to make it appear so.
Cape Town’s sustainable future, in very truth, depends on the outcomes of this battle. EVERYTHING revolves around, food and water. Finish en klaar. See how YOU can help at the end of this mail.
Thank you for your ongoing support! If you would like to read more, please see PHA representive Nazeer Ahmed Sonday's letter ‘City Food Security under threat’.
Click here for the call to action
31 July could see the loss of another 300ha in the PHA. Nearly 500ha has already been lost to developers – but with your help this too can be reclaimed.
Dear Alderman De Lille, Premier Zille, Dr James
I speak for a movement of over 4000 household and community micro-farmers in the black townships of Cape Town. Hundreds of Abalimi micro-farmers make modest livings (up to R3000/m) on no more than 500m2 per farmer, of marginal wasteland! Thousands are able to feed their families un-poisoned fresh food daily and seasonally off of a few square meters per household.
Just imagine if they had 1 hectare each! Those hectares are exactly where you want to build.
Those hectares that the Abalimi movement eventually wants access to (when the farmers genuinely qualify through our intergenerational development programme) are on top of the same PHA land that you intend to allow private developers to build upon, and we all know that developers don’t have a good reputation for delivering social housing at the best of times. Let alone on flood-prone prime agricultural land!
I find it appalling that City of Cape Town Mayco simply ignores the real options, and insights, as expressed by genuinely independent and competent citizen movements , as expressed by the “Save PHA campaign” represented by Nazeer Sonday of the Schaapkraal Civic and Environmental Association and the excellent recent study by Gareth Haysom (View study here).
There are in fact 800ha available on marginal agriculture land in the PHA, yet you choose to back private developers on prime land.
Please, your “mandate” does not give you the right to damage, even destroy, the future food and ground water system sustainability of Cape Town.
Please, Alderman De Lille and Mayco- take note. Please Premier Zille help!
Many, many thanks for all you try to do in good faith.
But allowing housing in the currently contested PHA land is WRONG.
Very best regards
Co-director ABALIMI BEZEKHAYA (farmers of home) & Harvest of Hope
A letter by PHA representive, Nazeer Ahmed Sonday
The Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) community, the Cape Flats and indeed the greater Cape Town is deeply disappointed and concerned with today’s mayoral committee decision to withdraw “the previous Mayco decision of November 2012” and “that the application for moving the Urban Edge application of 26 November 2012 be recommended for approval to Council” (SMC 03/11/12). This decision by the executive mayor of Cape Town is not in the interests of the citizens of Cape Town and must be stopped. A full council will decide on a matter that at the end of this month will have a far-reaching effect of the people of this city.
This decision to redraw the urban edge will impact on farmlands in the PHA on which vegetables are currently growing and measures approximately 300ha. Options for these farmlands are held with private developer Exclusive Access Trading 570 (pty) Ltd also known as MSP.
Today’s decision will lead to the overturning of the city’s own position in November 2012 where the city withheld its decision pending the outcome of a Food Systems Study it subsequently commissioned. This study has just commenced. The study aims to investigate the components and effectiveness of Cape Town’s food systems, the extent of food security plus and what makes people food insecure. A large part of this study will be informed by the farmlands of the highly productive PHA.
PHA farmers- both commercial and emerging- produce over 48 vegetable types which make up over 50% of fresh vegetables consumed in Cape Town. The PHA has been subject to numerous studies in the past including the PHA Task Team Study in 2009, the PHA AFSUN Report in 2012 and recently the PHA Synthesis Report of 2013. All these studies found that the PHA is essential for the city’s food security. It was found some 80% of the city’s citizens don’t have enough food to eat because of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Over 20% of fresh produce from the PHA is sold by hawkers and spaza shops in the poor areas of Cape Town. The rest is sold via the distribution networks of the major retailers like Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Woolworths and Fruit n Veg City.
In a climate of rising fuel and other input costs the PHA is ideally located close to the city and is thus an important insurance policy against runaway food prices and for our access to affordable and fresh food.
In addition food grows where water flows and the PHA is blessed with abundant water supply from the underground Cape Flats Aquifer for all year production-unlike anywhere else in the Western Cape. It is estimated that this water source can supply the city with 2 thirds of its potable water in the future in case of water shortages as a result of climate change.
It light of these findings, its worrying and perplexing why our mayor Patricia de Lille and her mayoral committee suddenly found urgent reasons to carve up the PHA and sell her off to private developers whose only aim is to make a quick buck.
In the review of the decision taken in November 2012 regarding the Cape Town Spatial Development Framework (60/07/13) MAYCO argues for the decision siting “increasing land invasion, a population migration into the region, to “cater for the gap and subsidised housing market needs to be considered’ and the need to address “the burden of service delivery”.
Over the last 4 years the PHA community through the Schaapkraal Civic and Environmental Association, the Highlands Estate Ratepayer Association and the Schaapkraal Developing Farmers Association has knocked on the doors of city and provincial officials, including in 2011 of the then executive mayor Dan Plato, the current incumbent Patricia de Lille and the MEC for the Department of Development Environment and Development Planning Anton Bredell in order to address illegal dumping, housing, the expansion of informal settlements and planning issues in the PHA. The lack of support from our elected officials has been appalling.
In 2011 local community organisations realised no coherent plan for the PHA exists that can satisfy the competing forces for the PHA- mainly agriculture and housing. The city’s Spatial Development Framework fell short in addressing the local conditions and the needs of various stakeholders. The community formed a subcommittee made of representatives of local organisations and developed the PHA Vision Plan. This far-reaching plan recognised the importance of the PHA for food security for the people of Cape Town but also realised the need for housing and economic development that can lead to job creation and improved socio-economic spin-offs for the greater Cape Flats. The plan offered marginal agricultural land (approximately 800ha) for urban development, commercial and industrial activity and saves the best farmlands for food production. It also argues for the need to protect good farmlands to increase production to match a growing city population.
The PHA Vision Plan was presented to the local Subcouncil at a full complement of councillors and line department officials on 18 February 2012 as part of a one-day workshop. Another Subcouncil PHA activity day was organised by the Subcouncil in September 2012 to address PHA challenges. In September 2012 the PHA Vision Plan and the AFUN PHA Report was introduced to MEC Anton Bredell. On 8 November 2012 the PHA Vision Plan was handed over to Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille.
PHA Vision Plan is supported by numerous organisations and individuals including;
And support for the plan is growing….
There are important questions that must be asked by the citizens of Cape Town of their elected officials:
1. Why is this review urgent?
2. What happened that made the city review this decision?
3. Why has the city abandoned waiting for the outcome of the Food Systems Study it has commissioned precisely to understand the impact of the PHA and other food growing areas on the city’s food security?
4. Why has mayor Patricia de Lille and the DEA/DP MEC Anton Bredel not considered the more pragmatic and balanced approach of the community-inspired PHA Vision Plan?
The PHA is the hidden jewel of Cape Town. Its farmlands have provided food for the city since the 1600’s. Before this the Khoi and San sustained themselves off this land. If the MSP (300ha) development application and indeed the Rapicorp (472ha) development application before this is allowed to proceed, Cape Town would have lost its heritage, its heart and its food security. This will be a design disaster of epic proportions at a time when the city is awarded the Design Capital City 2013.
Nazeer Ahmed Sonday
Secretary and head of Planning subcommittee: Schaapkraal Civic and Environmental Association
Chairman: PHA Sector Subforum
Secretary: Schaapkraal Developing Farmers Association
Committee member: Philippi Horticulture Housing Committee
Committee member: PHA for Food & Farming Campaign
195 Schaapkraal Road
Philippi Horticultural Area
Tel: 021 704 33 66
Cell: 072 72 434 65
|Click here to join forces with Abalimi Farm & Garden (Call to Action)|
Countdown to disaster on JULY 31, 2013
On 16 July 2013 the Mayoral committee in Cape Town with the misguided support of Executive mayor Patricia de Lille decided to support MSP developers and not the people of Cape Town! MSP developers want to build houses where vegetables are currently growing in the Philippi Horticultural Area- PHA. This is a huge injustice, an assault on our democracy and certainly NOT in the interests of Cape Town. Now a full council will sit on July 31 2013 to vote on this matter.
Your intervention is needed!
Please call on your councillors (whether DA, ANC, ACDP and others) who care for the people of this city to vote against this motion in council on 31 July. Please write to the newspapers to raise your concerns. If you are a CBO, NGO or CSO please make a statement to reject this motion. This motion must be stopped.
This decision by MAYCO is an attack on the poor!
If Cape Town loses this 300ha of land, it will start a landslide of further development in the PHA and vegetable prices could increase by up to 400%. We will have to truck our vegetables in from outside the city which means it won’t be that fresh and will add carbon miles to our food. It will go against the biggest food social movement in the world that want to support local farmers and local food production. Furthermore according to an AFSUN study 80% of our people in Cape Town don’t eat as they should because they just poor. Losing the PHA farmlands will mean the poor will eat even less as they will not be able to pay for the increasing price of vegetables.
MAYCO’s decision is an injustice!
MAYCO’s decision goes against council’s own policies including its own urban agriculture policy. It goes against the city’s own Spatial Development Framework which took five years and a cost of millions to develop. It contradicts the city council’s Evaluation of Developable Land within the Urban Edge Report of 2010 which says there is enough land in the city for housing developments. It contradicts UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) goals of encouraging policymakers to incorporate urban agriculture into urban planning as a way to combat urban poverty. In the year where Cape Town is awarded the 2013 World Design Capital, this decision is a design disaster!
Deceit and deception
MSP developers, a private property developer who want to develop the land say they responding to the call for housing in Cape Town. This is supported by councillors who say council have ‘an urgent’ need to address the housing backlog for the poor. But this development is not going to target the poor and certainly NOT the 1000 families who live in informal settlements in the PHA. So who is going to benefit exactly from this proposed housing development? And why the urgency now when council found it prudent to not support any developments in the PHA pending its own Food Systems Study it commissioned in June 2013?
The PHA feeds all of us, especially the Poor
Please act now and support the efforts to save the PHA from disaster!
Your intervention is needed!
Please call on your councillors and write to the media. Councillors must vote against MAYCO’s position in council on 31 July and Save the PHA!
For more information or if you want to get involved please contact
Statement issued by the PHA for Food & Farming Campaign, 27 July 2013