The Oranjezicht City Farm and Saturday market are facing an uncertain future after discussions with city officials lead to operations being halted with immediate effect, but thanks to public outcry and a meeting with Premier Helen Zille, the market will continue to operate at a different location.
In the initial statement released on the farm’s Facebook page on Thursday afternoon, Oranjezicht City Farm (OZCF) explained that after weeks of being denied permission to erect the market tent every Saturday in Homestead Park, it made an urgent application to Heritage Western Cape, but this was also denied with further restrictions.
“[I]n in addition to the denial of our application to erect the tents, new requirements were introduced by Heritage Western Cape that increase the difficulty of securing permissions for the site, and limit the scale of the market beyond viability. These include:
• The recent rezoning of Homestead Park by the City of Cape Town that appears not to have followed due process and therefore may not be valid and must first be resolved
• An investigation into potential title deed restrictions not previously raised by any of the authorities, including when permission was granted for establishment of OZCF (which is on part of the same Erf as Homestead Park)
• New archaeological investigations of sub-surface heritage resources in Homestead Park
• A market carrying-capacity analysis and site plan for Homestead Park,” reads the statement.
The OZCF expects this to take a good part of 2015 to complete. The result would be leaving a burgeoning community project and a thriving local market, as well as the jobs both have created, in the balance.
“The implications of this decision have serious negative consequences for the operations of OZCF, our farm workers, traders, small scale organic farmer suppliers, school groups, tourists, sponsors, our volunteers, the community and partner projects and organisations across the city and beyond.”
The decision has sparked a public outcry.
“This is absolutely tragic. The most magical market in the city - and doing so much good for local urban farmers, not to mention the community it was building and the beautiful way it was connecting people to their food again. Devastated,” wrote Pia Taylor.
Another Facebook user tagged Helen Zille’s Facebook page, writing: “Don't give up guys, there must be another way! I think Helen Zille should get involved here!”
Later on in the evening, OZCF have posted that they have met with Zille who has given the market permission to operate relocated to the official residence, Leeuwenhof in Hof Street, Cape Town.
“We are going to give this our best shot. All our traders will be there. Come and join us at the Premier’s residence on Saturday,” wrote the OZCF.