Parallel Land Use and Land Development Application Procedures in a Semi-Urban Context: A Case Study of the Thembisile Hani Local Municipality


Planning Honours Report 2-15, Wits UniversityRural and former homeland areas, mostly within a semi-urban context, are predominantly characterised by parallel statutory and customary legislative regimes which are both fully recognised under the current constitutional dispensation of the Republic of South Africa. The existence of this dichotomy in rural South Africa pre-dates the 1996 Constitutional dispensation and is therefore the legacy of the apartheid era, which saw the passing of various laws such as the Bantu Homelands Constitution Act, 1971 (Act 21 of 1971) which was also later renamed the Self-Governing Territories Constitution Act, 1971 (Act 21 of 1971). The basis of the passing of these laws emanated from subsequent laws such as the Bantu Authorities Act, 1951 (Act68 of 1951) and the Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act, 1959 (Act 46 of 1959) which also resulted in the establishment of tribal/traditional, territorial and regional authorities which relied on customary and indigenous understanding to the management of land.The statutory regulation of planning and land use management was later introduced in the self-governing and homeland areas with the promulgation of Proclamations R293 of 1962 and R188 of 1969 which were enacted as Land Use and Planning Regulations in terms of the Black Administration Act, 1927 (Act 38 of 1927). This signalled the beginning of a legacy of parallel land use and land development application procedures found in the semi-urban contexts of Post-Apartheid South Africa. The Post-1994planning legislative reform process has resulted in a planning system that is very complex and difficult for the rural communities to comprehend, and for the tribal/traditional authorities to embrace. The reason for the challenge induced on the rural community is due to the current planning laws that prescribe land use and land development application procedures that have very technical and expensive requirements for the majority of the rural community to understand and afford.On the other hand, discontent from the tribal/traditional authorities is due to the fact that the current institutional arrangements in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996), the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (Act 117 of 1998), the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act & Regulations, 2000 (Act 32 of 2000), as well as the new Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, 2013 (Act 16 of 2013) has placed municipal Councils at Local Government, at the centre of planning and land use and development management decision-making, with tribal authorities as consulted participants in the process.In attaining the intended outcomes of planning, this therefore calls for an incremental approach to the introduction of a statutory land use management system, in as far as land use and development application procedures in a semi-urban context are concerned. This approach is one that embraces the incorporation of local indigenous and customary knowledge and understanding into land use planning and resource management. With the Thembisile Hani Local Municiplality as a case study, emphasis is placed on the context-specificity of land use management systems and applicable procedures in a semi-urban context

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