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PHA Campaign says judgment halting development of area sends clear message

The activist group, Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) Campaign, took the provincial government to court to stop the 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 - A mixed-use development of the Philippi Horticultural Area has been put on hold.

A judgment on Friday in the Cape High Court ordered the MEC for Environmental Affairs to more thoroughly consider the planned development's potential effects on the aquifer.

The activist group, Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) Campaign, took the provincial government to court to stop the proposed mixed-use development on 500 hectares of the area.

The judge had found that 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 as the portion of land in question was not currently being used for farming.

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

Environmental Affairs and Development MEC Anton Bredell will now need to redo the environmental impact assessment process to focus specifically on the aquifer. The assessment initially submitted to the court was done in 2016.

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

PHA Campaign spokesperson Nazeer Sonday on Friday said the judgment sent a strong message to other potential developers.

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

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