There is a need to improve building planning enforcement and decrease the turnaround time for building applications in Joburg.
This is what the new Joburg executive director Amolemo Mothoagae says needs to be done to better the Development Planning Department. Mothoagae started as the department’s new head in May this year, returning to the City of Johannesburg after a decade of working as a strategic town planner.
The registered town planner has worked across all three spheres of government. She helped work on the Development Facilitation Act at national government level. She later worked with the provincial government to introduce the Gauteng Planning and Development Act. She had a short stint at the Gauteng Liquor Board and then at the City of Tshwane, where she also worked with the housing department.
Mothoagae remembers her early Joburg days as the most interesting with an influx of black young professionals. “It was the most exciting time of my life. We needed to compete with our white counterparts. But it helped us to work double as hard. All of us that came in at that time still talk about how it has made us grow,” she said.
Now, back at the City, Mothoagae wants to focus on bettering the department, which is key to spatial and settlement transformation within Johannesburg. From building control and land use management to planning control and enforcement, and outdoor advertising.
“Our own departments are frustrated with us, how much more the public? Are we not aspiring to a different type of reputation for our department?”
But with a solid team behind her, she believes improvement is imminent.
“We have disparities and we have to balance economic infrastructure toward economic growth with a social infrastructure to meet basic standards of living,” she said.
Recent policies like the inclusionary housing policy are a step in the right direction. Mothoagae believes the idea is noble, but that the private sector needs convincing. “They need to assist the government with social cohesion so that we do not have enclaves of poverty. It creates better communities and a sense of having a brighter future when living alongside successful people.”
Mothoagae will report to the City manager with a line to the MMC of Development Planning, Reuben Masango, who imparts the political vision. Based on the political vision, the department sets its service delivery implementation plan. As the head, Mothoagae must make sure that these are being delivered.
ALSO READ: City invites public to comment on draft development policies