New Joburg planning rules 'a disaster'

2011-12-05 14:46

Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg's new town planning scheme is unworkable, said the  South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) on Monday.

The City of Johannesburg implemented a new town planning scheme last week -  the Consolidated Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme 2011 - which aims to combine over a dozen different planning schemes or zoning regulations in Johannesburg into one set of uniform zoning provisions, without altering existing zoning or development rights attached to any particular property.

However, Sapoa has argued that instead of streamlining town planning, the errors and inadequacies of the scheme are so severe that the city needs to go back to the drawing board.

Sapoa also pointed to a number of alarming "bombshells" buried in its fine print.

An effective appropriation of rights without compensation arose from a clause that provided for approved rights which were not exercised within 24 months to become "null and void".

The scheme also stated that the municipality was not bound by its own town planning scheme.

Sapoa CEO Neil Gopal said: "We acknowledge that there is a need for a town planning scheme that ensures the regulation of land is uniform and more efficient throughout the municipal area, but this is not what this document does."

According to Sapoa's professional and legal advice, the 2011 Johannesburg Town Planning scheme contradicted itself in numerous places, referred to schedules and annexures not in the document, contained an abundance of inadequate and confusing definitions, and even contradicted other legislation, such as its definition of an "erf" which does not conform with the Land Survey Act.

"In general the new scheme is poorly compiled. The meaning and interpretation of many provisions is impossible to understand - either logically or legally," according to Gopal, who said this was the conclusion reached by a large number of professionals and practitioners in the field of town planning.

"In fact, three full sections were missing from the copy supplied to Sapoa and despite repeated efforts requesting this information, we have yet to receive it.

"The lack of interaction in terms of acknowledgement of letters, submissions made, requests for information, and so forth, from the City of Johannesburg is a worrying trend."

He noted that this was only one in a long chain of events where the city has switched off to the needs of its commercial property owners and homeowners, who are the largest ratepayers.

He said: "We, and other professionals, intend to lodge an appeal to the Townships Board."

  • Mthi Kakana - 2011-12-05 14:59

    It's about time something get's done about this!

  • AndV - 2011-12-05 15:18

    Cadre-deployed individuals not au fait with the law or townplanning issues, copy and paste the document. The incompetancy is mind-blowing. Name the authors of this document.

      harpo - 2011-12-05 22:34

      and these authors are being paid out of ratepayers taxes! demand money back+compensation for timer wasted,another fine example of incompetance.heads must role!

  • Seanred - 2011-12-05 15:58

    and then give them a Bells?????

  • 100003074117374 - 2011-12-05 16:26

    What is deeply concerning other than the glaring ineptitude of the leadership is the frequency with which "hidden" clauses are being included in government documents. Every one of these clauses is written in such a way as to degrade the lives of the people in some way to the benefit of the government. If it was not for sharp-eyed professionals the government would have significantly eroded the constitution already.

  • parmalat - 2011-12-05 18:59

    it is so sad but yet true, people should be fired for incompetence

  • amouse - 2011-12-05 19:39

    Please remove the description of Johannesburg as "world-class". It is merely an African city with a bunch of inexperienced incompetents in positions of power. Look to Cape Town as a "world-class African" city.

  • 100003210961567 - 2011-12-06 08:51

    And these people who wrote this hideously flawed town plan are the same ones who approved the Protection of Information Bill...Makes you think.

  • Mark - 2011-12-06 23:51

    Maybe they will get the picture when the JSE becomes the CTSE and head offices of major companies have postal codes that start with an 8. What a shame that would be. But if they carry on like they are Joburg will become a world class African ghost town.

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