Phillipi Horticultural Area Photo: Ayanda Ndamane
In a blow to activists fighting to conserve the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA), the appeal submitted by the PHA Food and Farming against a 15 042-house Oaklands City development rezone approval has been dismissed.

The campaign said they were only given a seven-day notice to present to the City against the major development and were forced to condense an eight-year battle into a 10-minute appeal.

The area is about 3 000 hectares of farmland on the Cape Flats and opponents of the development said it would threaten the livelihoods of emerging farmers, and their workers, as well as food security, and jeopardise a 630km² aquifer in the region.

The province has approved the Environmental Impact Assessment for the planned 472.36ha development despite widespread opposition.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning approved the site because the land does not form part of the proposed Philippi area, as it is on the urban edge of the city.

The City redrew its plans in 2013. The campaign’s Nazeer Sonday said: “I don’t think they had any intention of listening to the things we said, they chopped us off halfway through our presentation.”

He said it seemed the outcome was preconcluded to grant the rezone.

“We are not surprised, but we are disappointed.”

Sonday said the campaign has sought legal advice and will take the matter to court.

City’s General Appeals Committee chairperson Dirk Smit said reasons for the dismissal included that the application has been evaluated against and complies with the Cape Town Spatial Development Framework and the Cape Flats District Plan and the property is located within the Urban Edge.

“Having had regard to