South Africa: Victory in Court for Philippi Horticultural Area

analysis

With findings that neither the City of Cape Town nor the provincial government considered the full impact of development on the Cape Flats Aquifer in the Philippi Horticultural Area, the Cape High Court has sent two crucial decisions back for a second look.

After a decade of legal battles to protect the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) against urban development, the PHA Food and Farming Campaign, backed by 33 civil society organisations, finally won a significant victory in the Cape High Court, with a judge finding that neither the City of Cape Town nor the provincial government paid proper attention to the impact housing and other urban developments will have on the Cape Flats Aquifer. The court also found that a crucial appeal decision in this regard was made using old reports.

The PHA was described in a report commissioned by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture in 2018 as an integral part of Cape Town's food security. The report warned that the loss of the Philippi farmlands would result in thousands of job losses and millions of rand in economic losses. The report said the special growing conditions of the PHA were "irreplaceable" within a 120km radius because the area...

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