Phillipi Horticultural Area Photo: Ayanda Ndamane
The Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) should be protected and the agricultural potential of the land explored.

Standing committee on economic opportunities, tourism and agriculture chairperson Beverley Schäfer said this after the committee conducted an oversight visit to the farming area yesterday.

This follows a meeting in June, when the provincial department of agriculture briefed the committee on its plan to conduct its first study on the PHA to understand the land, and inform steps to protect it.

The PHA is 3000ha of farmland in the heart of the Cape Flats, and opponents of developments say these will threaten the livelihoods of emerging farmers and their workers and local food security, and jeopardise a 630km² aquifer.

The farmers supply the City with more than 200 000 tons of vegetables yearly.

Two large developments have been in the works for the land, with widespread opposition to a planned 472.36ha housing development, Oakland City.

“The standing committee has committed to monitoring the progress of this study and, on completion, we will call on Agriculture MEC Alan Winde to look at engaging with the National Minister of Agriculture on the possibility of declaring the PHA a dedicated Agricultural Development Zone,” Schäfer said. 

A hydro-geologist will determine the potential of the aquifer to supply irrigation and drinking water to communities, she said.

PHA food and farming campaign spokesperson Nazeer Sonday said: “We stand to lose 13 000ha for mining and urban developments.”

He said the campaign had been fighting off development in the area for eight years.

“We have done everything we could as a local community to do this out of court and to make use of the democratic space available to us,” Sonday said.

Agricultural Development and Support Services deputy director-general Darryl Jacobs said the study would be completed with input from all stakeholders.

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