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Development of Philippi Horticultural Area on hold after court ruling

A group of activists, calling themselves the PHA Campaign, took the provincial government to court to stop a proposed mixed-use development on 500 hectares of the area.

Activists, calling themselves the PHA Campaign, who are fighting against the development of the Philippi Horticultural Area. Picture: Jarita Kassen/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The development of the Philippi Horticultural Area has been put on hold.

That’s after a judgement in the Cape High Court on Tuesday that ordered the MEC for Environmental Affairs Anton Bredell to consider more thoroughly the potential effects on the aquifer.

A group of activists, calling themselves the PHA Campaign, took the provincial government to court to stop a proposed mixed-use development on 500 hectares of the area.

The judge found the decision-making processes involved in the rezoning of the area were valid, and that the development would not pose a threat to food security in the Cape Metropole because the portion in question is not currently being used for farming.

However, the judge raised concerns about the development’s effect on the underground water supply, especially in light of accelerating climate change.

That means Bredell will need to restart the environmental impact assessment process to focus specifically on the aquifer.

The development in question is one of several proposed in the area.

PHA Campaign spokesperson Nazeer Sonday believes the judgment sends a strong message to other potential developers.

“The judgment was precedent-setting because it tells our municipality that it cannot make planning decisions without considering the climate. It sends a clear message to developers and mining companies that our area is not a housing area.”

Bredell’s office said he would consider the judgment before taking the next steps.

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