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To: The City Of Cape Town
SOUTH AFRICA: Cease Unsustainable Property Development in Cape Town
The situation in the Western Cape, specifically the region of Cape Town, is dire, as new Housing Developments like the ones in Capri and next to the M64 in Sun Valley are destroying natural habitats and negatively affecting the environment. The City Of Cape Town needs to enforce stricter property development laws and protect the remaining natural habitats under non-negotiable conservation guidelines and regulations.
Why is this important?
This is necessary as the Western Cape cannot support any more people with the natural resources available (especially water), and encouraging housing development on undeveloped land will only lead to problems in the future. The City Of Cape Town should cease approving unsustainable property development in the Western Cape, and instead focus on protecting the natural environment and improving the lives of the citizens that already inhabit these areas - not the citizens that don't.
Everyone is affected; the harm to the environment will only add further to climate change and the endangerment of native animals species. An example of this in Cape Town is the leopard toad, whose population has nearly gone extinct due to over development and the destruction of its natural habitat. With more unsustainable development, the populations of wild cats, snakes, buck, various insects, birds and plant life will decrease, and we may lose these creatures permanently if we are not careful.
Secondly, additional housing is being created to attract more people outside of the Western Cape, which is experiencing drought, will result in even greater strain on water supplies and cause even greater hardship for the original inhabitants of the Western Cape. The use of water and resources in building these properties detracts from our already limited supplies. This is also a significant waste of funds that could have been dedicated to improving infrastructure that already exists within the region, such as education, the electricity grid, roads and emergency services. Furthermore, the investment being dedicated to these housing developments could have gone towards desalination tanks and other schemes to protect our steadily decreasing water supply.
Thirdly, there is an even greater human element in this. The housing developments being green-lit are in relation to upper middle- and upper-class housing, rather than catering for poor households. This could be seen as a far reaching issue for housing developments near lower class towns or settlements, as a process of gentrification could occur that may lead to the displacement or replacement of these neighbourhoods due to higher rent or further demand for land to cater for High Income Households.
In the most extreme cases, parts of these neighbourhoods may be bought out to create more high class estates. Examples of this can be seen throughout history, with gentrification occurring in New York. This may not happen, depending on the circumstances, but the recent development of the Cape Capri Estates opposite Masiphumelele does lead to a very stark parallel between this and gentrification in the USA and other countries.
Finally, the Economic consequences of this cannot be understated as well. Property development on Farmland and bio-diverse ecosystems destroys potential opportunities to create long term jobs for the residents of the Western Cape, and could potentially lead to a reduction in Tourist revenue in the long run should the natural habitat be eroded.
Property Development is not a sustainable form of income generation as it relies on the availability of a fixed resource, LAND, and within the context of South Africa is only being developed to be utilised by foreigners and upper income households.
Alternately, investment in the Tourist sector would generate both long term jobs as well as a much stabler revenue inflow. Tourism allows for both economic growth and development within an economy, and in South Africa - where potential economic growth far outweighs actual economic growth - Tourism is essentially one of the few viably sustainable means of income generation.
We cannot accept further unsustainable development. Property development does generate jobs and income for people, but jobs can also be generated from shifting that investment towards improving existing infrastructure, as well as conservationism which in turn offers more sustainable jobs that do not end once development is finished.