The picturesque Polkadraai Hills, home of the excellent wines of Origin Polkadraai Hills in Stellenbosch

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News from the Polkadraai Hills

The Plastic Hills Saga goes on and on.....

12.4.2012: Unfortunately, Stellenbosch authorities broke their promise and didn't take any legal action. Instead, they allowed the developers to submit another late application for authorisation - now more than 2 years after our first complaint! I.e. the process will be delayed for another few years, particularly since the application is again not complete and not accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment as required by the Heritage Resources Act. This is a travesty of justice and we urge the Municipality to finally take corrective measures and reinstall law and order!

Legal action against the unlawful plasticultures!

29.7.2011: At last, Stellenbosch remembers its duties and promised to take legal action against the developers of the unauthorized hothouse development on Stb farm 1429, which disfigures the formerly so beautiful Polkadraai Hills.

Representatives of the Municipality finally confirmed that the controversial hothouse development is entirely unlawful. The owners were actually notified to remove the offending structures until 27th of July 2011, but they didn't comply with. Consequently, Stellenbosch undertook to apply for a court order to enforce this. We welcome the progress in this matter and hope that it will lead to a satisfying solution for all Stellenbosch.

Public Participation in the authorisation process for hothouses!

27.1.2011: The developers of the controversial hothouse complex on the Polkadraai Strawberry farm faced stiff resistance from local residents, when their (late!) application for authorisation was advertised for public participation. Numerous objections from many concerned citizens and parties have reached the Municipality of Stellenbosch, and we can only hope that they will actually be read and accordingly find the serious consideration they deserve!

GOOD NEWS: Hothouse developers are requested to present an EIA

14. Dec. 2010: As reported earlier, Stellenbosch Municipality has appointed an environmental lawyer to investigate the hothouse developments in the Polkadraai Hills. His report clearly indicates that the National Environmental Management Act as well as the Heritage Resources Act is applicable, i.e. the developers need to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment report prior to any authorisation.
The Departments in charge are the Department of Environmental Affairs and Heritage Western Cape respectively - Let's hope that they live up to their auspicious name!

Public revolt against hothouse development in the Polkadraai Hills

The Polkadraai Hills before and after the plastic invasionResidents of the Polkadraai Hills take action against the ruthless plastic hothouse expansion over several hectares of the previously so unspoiled and beautiful Polkadraai Hills. And further expansions are planned! Point at the picture and see how it has changed! Read here more about this boldfaced plasticulture development

8.10.2010 / Eikestad Nuus :

(click here for the ENGLISH translation of this article) Translation of the article in Eikestad Nuus of 8.10.2010:


Stellenbosch municipality will employ an environmental lawyer in order to
help solve the problems surrounding the notorious greenhouse development
along the Polkadraai Road. Farmers and members of the Polkadraai Hills
Association are complaining since January this year on the development,
and residents insist that the Municipality disapproves the greenhouses.
The Zetler family, who built the greenhouses for their strawberry farm,
didn’t apply for any building authorisation by the Municipality and have
no approval for the development.

According to Mr. Mervin Williams, acting head of the legal services at
Stellenbosch Municipality, it has been decided in a recent meeting with
members of the Polkadraai Hills Association to employ an environmental
lawyer. "He will investigate and advise the municipality on the relevant
processes, public participation processes or any other impact studies
conducted by the Municipality or any other party to be performed for
developments such as greenhouses”.
It has also been decided that no further greenhouses may be approved
in the area until there is more clarity on this matter
(Eikestad Nuus / S vdBerg)
Stellenbosch' Munisipaliteit gaan binnekort 'n omgewings-regkenner aanstel om probleme rondom die berugte kweekhuis-ontwikkeling op die Polkadraaipad te help oplos....
Get here a copy of the full article (pdf/75KB)

25.9.2010 / Eikestad Nuus:

(point--> here for the ENGLISH translation of this article) Translation of the article in Eikestad Nuus of 25.9.2010:


The dust has not settled over the notorious greenhouse
development in the Polkadraai Hills yet. Residents in the area
still call for the Stellenbosch Municipality to intervene and
reject the plastic constructions. The Zetler family started
already in January 2010 with the erection of greenhouses for
their strawberry farm, although they never applied by the
Municipality for building authorisation and have also not
obtained any approval for the development.

The Zetlers farm on the land of Janny and Lukas Joubert. Wine
farmers in the area, which have established the Polkadraai
Hills Association, complain that the plastic greenhouses
deface the Winelands, actually violating several regulations
in this regard. However, only on June 25 this year, the
municipality issued a notice to the Zetlers and the Jouberts
to submit within 30 days a written application. At this time,
the development was already completed.

Eikestad Nuus/25.9.2010/ Samantha van den Berg)
Die stof het nog nie gaan le na die oprigting van die berugte kweekhuis-ontwikkeling op die Polkadraaipad nie. Inwoners in die omgewing dring steeds daarop aan dat Stellenbosch Munisipaliteit die kweekhuise afkeur. Die Zetler-familie het reeds in Januarie 2010 begin om kweekhuise vir hul aarbeilanderye langs die pad op te rig, hoewel hulle nie by die Munisipaliteit daarvoor aansoek gedoen en geen goedkeuring vir die ontwikkeling gekry het nie.
Die Zetlers huur die grond by Jannie en Lukas Joubert. Wynboere in die omgewing, wat die Polkadraai Hills-vereniging gestig het, kla egter dat die
kweekhuise die wynlandskap ontsier en verskeie regulasies oortree. Die Munisipaliteit het egter eers op 25 Junie vanjaar 'n kennisgewing aan die Zetlers, asook die Jouberts, uitgereik om binne 30 dae skriftelik aansoek te doen. Die ontwikkeling was toe reeds voltooi (Samantha van den Berg) Get here a copy of the article (pdf/400 kb)

16.7.2010 / Eikestad Nuus :
Kennisgewing uitgereik vir ongemagtigde kweekhuise
8.7.2010 / GRAPE, South Africa's independent wine viewpoint :

Tim James: There are those who think that Stellenbosch is one of the loveliest Winelands in the world as it is; others, like the strawberry-farming Zetler family seem to prefer it covered with plastic hothouses and vibracrete walls. Read more...

25.6.2010 / Eikestad Nuus : 'n KLAP IN DIE GESIG

Menige wynboer in Stellenbosch is in opstand oor die wit kweekhuise wat die Zetler-familie langs die Polkadraaipad opgerig het...
Read here the full article (pdf / 330KB)

20.6.2010 / Rapport : PRAGTIGE STREEK IS ERG ONTSIER !

Rapport/Cape Town: Wynboere in Stellenbosch is omgekrap oor reusagtige kweekhuise wat ’n gesiene en skatryk familie op hul aarbeilanderye opgerig het.Die klaers meen dié spierwit strukture van die Zetler-familie tussen wingerde langs die Polkadraaipad ontsier dié wêreldbekende wynlande, wat ná die Krugerwildtuin en Tafelberg die gewildste toerismebestemming in Suid-Afrika is. Read the complete article or download here a hardcopy (pdf / 8KB)

5.2010/London:  Who said wine tours were only for buffs?

They’re fun for all in South Africa’s Cape Winelands, says a tipsy Amanda Hyde from the London Sunday Times. Read here this enthusing report  about her visit in December 2009 to the Polkadraai Hills!