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City’s move to scrap apartheid land schemes applauded Print E-mail
30 June 2017

The City of Joburg intends to scrap 13 disparate town planning schemes governing land development in various areas and adopt a single Land Use Scheme in line with the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act of 2013 and the City’s 2016 Municipal Planning By-Law.

This was presented as a draft proposal by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Development Planning Cllr Funzela Ngobeni at the City’s monthly council meeting on Thursday June 29.

According to MMC Ngobeni, the new Land Use Scheme, also known as the Town Planning Scheme, is a tool aimed at regulating the zoning of each property and prescribing rules on how properties are to be developed.

Cllr Ngobeni’s plan was praised by ANC councillor Ruby Mathang, who described it as a “huge milestone”. He said the old land scheme, adopted during apartheid, sought to separate people and stifle economic growth.

“We as the ANC would like to state that we support the scrapping of this old and outdated Land Use Scheme, which was designed to separate and discriminate people in terms of the colour of their skin,” he said.

MMC Ngobeni said all land owners and users – including the City, state-owned enterprises and all organs of the state – would be bound by the provisions of the new scheme. He said previous town planning schemes were adopted in the late 1970s and early 1980s in terms of the Town Planning and Townships Ordinates Acts of 1965 and 1985.

“They differ in their definition of land use and also prescribe different processes [to be followed] to obtain land use rights. Besides the fact that the tools were developed during the apartheid era and that they are outdated, their differences create challenges for residents and the developing community in that they need to understand the specific town planning scheme whenever they intend on developing.

“Emphasis in these old schemes is premised on separation of land uses and areas rather than integration and inclusion. The prescriptions in the schemes creates inconsistent rules for land development depending on the location in the city.

“For instance, a spaza shop in Soweto does not require any town planning application but in Cosmo City the same use requires a rezoning application, which is a specialised, technical and complex process,” he said.

MMC Ngobeni added that it was important that residents, property developers and land owners participated in the development of this “important land governance tool. Residents and business need to increase awareness on land use regulations to promote compliance with the law and avert criminal charges relating to non-compliance.”

While the adoption and approval of the new scheme was required in terms of the law, Cllr Ngobeni said it also contributed to the City’s Nine Priorities in that it:
• Prescribes processes for land development to promote economic development and attract investment;
• Aims to delink the activities of the poor from illegality, thus providing for easier processes to start a business from home;
• Introduces compatible land uses and lawful enforcement of zoning to safeguard land development investment and reduce risks to health, business confidence and perceived and real loss of value;
• Makes provision for the City to declare special zones for priority areas and prescribe customised rules for development; and
• Ensures that land development preserves natural and heritage resources for future generations.

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Last Updated on 30 June 2017