GCTCA response to City’s letter on the withdrawal of the CTSDF

Cape Times
14 April 2014
Len Swimmer – Chairman GCTCA
Cllr Bloor’s letter of 10 April “Lack of understanding of city’s development framework and planning processes” is, I fear, somewhat economical with the truth.
A lot of what he says is factual but the impression given that the Constitutional Court judgment (CCT117/13) on 04 April 2014 in the Habitat case “serves to reconfirm the sole authority of local government, subject to public participation processes, with regard to land use planning decisions” is incorrect.

What ConCourt said was “All municipal planning decisions that encompass zoning and subdivision, no matter how big, lie within the competence of municipalities.” That’s all. That ConCourt decision does NOT give a municipality a completely free rein in land use planning.

The Local Government: Municipal Systems Act (No. 32/2000) requires a municipality to have an Integrated Development Plan (IDP), and a Spatial Development Framework (SDF) forms part of an IDP. A municipality’s Urban Edge is delineated in its SDF.

The amendment of an IDP, and the SDF, is quite an onerous task. The IDP, and any amendment thereto, must be provided to the provincial MEC for Local Government, in our case Minister Bredell.  The MEC effectively comments on the plan and makes suggestions.  If the Municipality refuses to accept his suggestions, the matter can be referred to a special committee to resolve.

The provisions of the new national Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act and the Western Province Land Use Planning Act, gazetted on 07 April, do not overrule this imperative. The MEC can also invoke the provisions of the National Environmental Management Act in appropriate circumstances.

Thus if the City tries again to ignore the national obligation to preserve land of high agricultural significance, plus the environmental concerns expressed by the broad community and the City’s own professional advisors, as it did recently when it asked the Province to move the Urban Edge so that a large housing development could go ahead in the Philippi Horticultural Area, then Minister Bredell can again thwart their ill-considered intentions.

Thank goodness Big Brother is still able to restrain local politicians’ wildest land use dreams.

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