THE SPLUMA SPLASH!
"The times they are a changin" – Bob Dylan
If ever the South African spatial planning landscape was in turmoil, 2014 tops the list. Peter Dacomb shares some thoughts on this matter.
Following the "SPLUMA Splash", when the long awaited and much debated Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act was published in the Government Gazette in August, 2013, expectations soared – the new planning dispensation was nigh!
SPLUMA would be enacted incrementally, by further notices to be published in the Government Gazette. After much debate and pleading with the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, it was made known that, as a first target date, 1 July 2014 was identified to enact, amongst others, Section 60 of SPLUMA (to unlock various pending DFA matters) – For reasons unknown, the notice on Section 60 did not appear.
The Draft Regulations to SPLUMA were published in the Government Gazette on 4 July 2014. The public has been offered until 4 September 2014 to comment on the draft.
Against the above background the Honourable Minister's indication that the remaining sections of SPLUMA are likely to be published by early September 2014 appears somewhat unlikely.
At the Provincial Sphere of Government, a very different set of complications is bubbling under. Starting in the Western Cape, the mood suggests that provincial legislation may be no more than a token gesture, leaving independent municipalities to bring about spatial planning bylaws in site specific terms. Then on to KZN where the Planning and Development Act remains in a state of flux. In Gauteng, provincial influence is rumoured to remain a strong component of the spatial planning debate. It appears that a certain level of inconsistency is the only common denominator, with other provinces trailing in the distance.
All along, the "old order" Ordinances and Removal of Restrictions Acts and the Physical Planning Act and similar instruments, remain in use, trudging along patiently, yet bearing the yoke of all the ills associated with the previous political dispensation.
For the uninformed, there are other interesting laws in the spatial planning arena, such as the Provision of Land and Assistance Act, 126 of 1993 (the successor to the Provision of Certain Land for Settlement Act), administered by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, the champions of SPLUMA. This relatively unknown act, all of the 7 pages thereof, provides a vehicle to subdivide and develop land and allocate land use rights without necessarily giving notice to any interested party, by setting aside Act 70 of 1970 and by not having to comply with any law governing township establishment! The aforesaid act was amended by the:
• Development Facilitation Act, 1995;
• Provision of Certain Land for Settlement Amendment Act, 1998; and
• Land Affairs General Amendment Act, 2000
Strange but true!
Bob Dylan, bless his soul, was on the button – times are indeed a changin' (or are they?)
SAACPP/4 July 2014