Today, yesterday’s dreams are made reality, employing the original layout with a contemporary feel.

Initially designed as a traditional English country village almost 100 years ago, the layout of the property which is now Kelderhof Country Village was approved in 1903, as part of the ‘Croydon Township’, but only recently  developed.

As of 1st August 2022, of the 598 erven, 553 homes have been completed on site and an additional 5 are currently under construction. The community is well established and has come to life and the dreams of the original town planners in 1903 are becoming a reality in the form of Kelderhof Country Village.

As an owner of a Kelderhof Country Village home you too can become part of the future history of this unique estate.


The development, originally known as Croydon Township, consisted of 955 residential erven. The township was originally outside the municipal boundaries but was later incorporated into the City of Cape Town municipal area. The General Plan for Croydon Township was approved in 1903, before the implementation of the Township Ordinance No 13 of 1927. No conditions of approval were imposed and the then developer was under no obligation to install any municipal services as part of township establishment. It was expected that the local authority would install the services in due course. A number of erven were sold and transferred to individuals over a period spanning 50 years, without any municipal services in place.

Since the township predated current planning legislation and registration of transfer had occurred, the development approval could not lapse. This presented a problem for individual owners who could not develop their plots. It also presented a problem for the City because the development rights could not be cancelled and the City had a responsibility to install services to the erven which had been transferred to individual owners.

The Local Authority received many requests from landowners in Croydon to provide them with services, and some services were subsequently installed in a portion of the township below the railway line (refer to Figure 3). These services are very basic and consisted of gravel roads, septic and conservancy tanks and a potable water supply. Electricity was supplied by ESKOM but no street lighting was provided. Due to the availability of these services, this portion of Croydon Township became partially developed. However no services were provided to the erven located ‘above’ the railway line, and the Local Authority was unable to approve any building plans on these erven. The City then obtained independent opinion from its external legal counsel, who confirmed that the City had an obligation to install services to the Croydon Township however, there was no obligation relating to time.

Figure 3: Original Cadastral Boundaries of Croydon Estate

For many years a stalemate existed, with some properties having been sold and transferred to individual owners, and the majority of unsold properties held in the hands of two groups, being the Faure and Miller families. In approximately 2006 these properties were transferred into an investment company called Empire Earth Investments 17 (Pty) Ltd (“Empire Earth” / “Developer”).

After extensive discussions with City officials and approval of infrastructure plans, Empire Earth proceeded to service the entire development above the railway line, including 134 plots which they did not own.

The development was rebranded as Kelderhof Country Village, and an Owners’ Association (OA) was established via agreement. New purchasers of plots from Empire Earth became members of the OA. However, the owners of the 134 plots not owned by Empire Earth could not be denied access to their properties. Further, these owners had no obligation to join the KCVOA, nor did they have to adhere to the architectural guidelines stipulated by the OA.

All civil and electrical services, including individual erf connections, were installed at the cost of Empire Earth. However, these services remain under the ownership and management of the City of Cape Town. The City required that all the services be installed to the entire area, not just to the erven owned by the Developer. The Certificate of Completion for Civil Engineering Services to Kelderhof was issued on 17th April 2009. The services constructed by the Developer included construction of a guardhouse and entrance booms.

Shortly after the services had been installed, the global financial crisis resulted in a number of pre-sales not proceeding, leaving the Developer with a large outstanding debt that had to be serviced. By installing services the Developer effectively took on three major costs: the first was the cost of servicing its own stands; the second was the cost of servicing stands it did not own; and the third was property rates (on completion of the services on behalf of the Municipality, the Developer was immediately charged rates based on the new valuation of the erven).

The Developer was however left with a predicament because a large amount of money had been spent in servicing the 134 plots that were previously registered before the KCVOA was established. The City did not accept responsibility to reimburse the cost of this infrastructure and there were difficulties in recovering these costs from the plot owners.

Since the roads are vested in Council and included brick paving instead of asphalt, the City’s Roads and Stormwater Branch proposed that the Developer enter into a service level agreement. In terms of the proposed agreement the maintenance of roads would be the responsibility of the OA, while the City would maintain the sewage and potable water services.

Numerous discussions with officials of the City’s Roads and Stormwater Branch took place to find a mechanism to re-claim servicing costs for erven that were previously registered. There was an agreement in principle about many aspects, including recognition that the township effectively operated as a gated community and the internal roads should be privatised. However, no formal agreement was reached and the Developer then embarked on a strategy of acquiring the previously registered plots via a separate entity known as the Kelderhof Development Trust (KDT). This strategy proved successful as the installation of services and creation of a secure estate increased the values of these plots exponentially and many of these owners were happy to realise their profits and sell to KDT. KDT in turn provided the guarantees to the Developer to settle these outstanding installation costs from the proceeds of a resale.

Other owners of these previously registered erven sold their plots individually, and since new purchasers wanted to become members of the KCVOA, almost every sale resulted in a settlement of the service cost and the purchaser becoming a part of the KCVOA.  Currently, approximately only 30 property owners at Kelderhof Village are not part of the KCVOA. Many of these are deceased or out of the country and the Developer together with the local  property agents are all actively engaged in efforts to purchase these properties. 

The significance of this background is that an innovative solution was required to resolve an otherwise intractable problem. It was necessary to rebrand Kelderhof and, in line with modern trends, to establish the development as an integrated village with architectural guidelines, common amenities and some form of security. Without these elements it would not have been possible to raise and maintain the value of property, and to establish Kelderhof with the quality and amenity that it currently enjoys. The previous township approval provided none of these advantages and the township itself was unserviced.

Therefore, the principle of public access to public streets in the case of Kelderhof was  considered in a very different light to a conventional development. The streets were paid for by the Developer, and owners of previously registered erven now benefit from services that they did not previously have, and an increase in property values that would not otherwise have been possible. Failure to have the OA and access control would have resulted in a non-viable project, which would not have been of benefit to the City or the owners of previously registered erven.


The roads within Kelderhof Country Village were historically public roads as part of the historic suburb of Croydon (i.e. zoned for public access and owned by the City of Cape Town). During 2018, the City of Cape Town (CoCT) served notice on the KVCOA to inform them that the gate house at the entrance to Kelderhof was not compliant with the CoCT Municipal Planning By-Law because the access gate prevented free public access to the public roads within the estate. Therefore, the KCVOA (with the assistance of Planning Partners) underwent a process to convert the roads from “public roads” to “private roads”, which entailed two independent but associated steps:

Town Planning

The internal roads needed to be rezoned from “public” to “private” roads. Further, the roads needed to be subdivided off from the land so that they could be capable of being transferred. This process has already been concluded, with the rezoning / subdivision application being approved by the CoCT on 6 April 2020 (refer to LUMS Case ID 70463756).

Acquisition of the Land

Despite the approved rezoning and subdivision, the roads still remain under the ownership of the CoCT. The KVCOA therefore now needs to purchase the roads from the CoCT to complete the conversion of the roads from “public” to “private”. A conditional price of R2 500 000 (ex. VAT) has already been agreed between the CoCT and the KCVOA for the purchase of the land.