A legal battle began in 2003, and finally in November of 2023 the Noordhoek Environmental Action Group (NEAG) took the City of Cape Town, and Western Cape MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning to the High Court in opposition of a proposed road extension that would cut through a wetland that is home to the endangered Western Leopard Toad.

This species of toad is on the International Union for  Conservation of Nature (“ IUCN”) Red List, which affords this species  significant protection. The planned road is meant to alleviate traffic from the deep south, however, it is demarcated to be built through major breeding and movement zones of the Western Leopard Toad. The NEAG argues that this wetland collects a lot of heavy rain which, if disturbed,  may result in localised flooding. Furthermore, the NEAG argued that there were procedural irregularities with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report particularly in relation to the  public participation process that was followed and in addition it was argued that the EIA was defective in that   no amphibian study was conducted.

The City argued that they considered all reasonable factors, and that the road is essential especially for the safety and convenience of  residents that commute through the area. NEAG agree that a road is crucial to solve the gridlock in traffic in the area, but not at the expense of an entire species. In this regard it is noted that the NEAG fully supports Phase 2 of the proposed road development that is mapped through another wetland that is considered ecologically “dead”.

On the 23rd of April 2024, the court gave its judgement and dismissed the matter. The court ruled that the City has taken adequate measures to ensure ecological viability such as introducing a “toad underpass”  which creates a pathway under the road to facilitate toad migration.

For the full judgement follow this link: Judgment – Noordhoek Environmental v CoCT and 5 Others.pdf

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