#ICYMI: Doing away with spacial framework

Ruby Mathang, former ANC MMC for Development Planning. Photo: Chantelle Fourie


The City of Johannesburg wants to do away with the 13 prevailing historic town planning schemes which were developed during the Apartheid era.

On 29 June, the council approved the draft land use scheme, a tool that regulates the zoning of each property in the City. Joburg’s new MMC for development planning, Funzela Ngobeni told council the scheme is an important tool that affects the daily activities of residents and property owners by prescribing rules related to how properties should be developed and used.

“All landowners and users of land are legally bound by the provisions of such a land use scheme. The previous 13 schemes were adopted in the late 70s and early 80s. They differ in their definition of land use and also prescribe different processes to obtain land-use rights,” Ngobeni explained.

Besides the fact that the tools were developed during the Apartheid era and were outdated, the problem with the current schemes are that they create challenges for the residents and the developing community.

“Emphasis in these old schemes is premised on separation of land uses and areas rather than integration and inclusion. The prescriptions in the schemes create inconsistent rules for land development, depending on the location in the City. For example, to have a house shop (spaza) in Soweto does not require any town planning application but in Cosmo City it requires a rezoning application, which is a specialised technical and complex process.”

This scheme will soon be brought to communities across the City for comment. The public participation process will last for two months before council will approve a final draft.

Ngobeni said the content of a single land use scheme must include economic growth, social inclusion, efficient land development and minimal impact on public health, the environment and natural resources.

“The land use scheme is also the basis for zoning law enforcement in the City.”

The City’s former MMC for development planning , Ruby Mathang, said the ANC fully supports this draft scheme and the City has reached a milestone. “We will celebrate once it is published in the Provincial Gazette.”

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