Land Use Planning Bill 2013
Thank you for affording me the opportunity to engage you on the Land Use Planning Bill, 2013. While this may be the primary purpose of my discussion, it is important for you as leaders in your respective industries to find relevance in my content.
Ladies and gentlemen, investment leads to dividends. Fundamental to this concept is the ability to manage investment through informed decision-making. As a Regional Government we have set our sights on socio-economic growth which will ensure that we build an open opportunity society for all.
The Western Cape Government has committed to stimulating economic activity by increasing its infrastructure budget from R 3.3 billion to R 5.5 billion over the medium-term expenditure framework. It is expected that this investment will create 100 000 job opportunities during this period.
Ladies and gentlemen, secondary to investment is the need to couple this with a strategic long-term vision. This must be underpinned by viable partnerships with key stakeholders. The National Development Plan very clearly speaks of a partnership between government, civil society and business to ensure that service delivery is improved.
Ladies and gentlemen, service delivery is a business just like any other. While our client base is much larger than most businesses, it is important for us to identify with and align this government with long-term visions which will ensure that the vision we have will be realised.
We must be innovative and we must continuously assess if we are in fact on the right path to enhancing our service delivery efforts in the interest of our communities. By aligning ourselves with the National Development Plan, we have identified with the need to promote inclusive growth by providing citizens with the means to improve their own lives and boost their incomes.
I am responsible for a critical government portfolio. Through this portfolio land use planning has been identified as a policy priority area for the Western Cape. This means that, coupled with the fact that we have increased our fiscal investment to promote infrastructural growth, it is imperative that we administer the necessary legislative frameworks which will stimulate this vision through sustainable development.
Ladies and gentlemen, by gazetting the new Land Use Planning Bill 2013, we look to contain urban sprawl and encourage denser forms of development. While the new Bill, once enacted as legislation will set a new precedent in terms of law reform, it will bring about the following key outcomes:
- The Land Use Planning Bill will replace the Land Use Planning Ordinance together with other related outdated legislation.
- Fundamental to this will be the need for integrated decision-making between the two spheres of government by administering a modernised and efficient land use planning system.
- This will result in the reduction of existing regulatory burden as well as the reduction of red tape through a system of integrated decision-making as one land use application is submitted as opposed to more than five.
Fundamental to addressing challenges such as differing opinions of land use planning decision-making as currently being experienced, the legislation will:
- Clarify the competence of land use decision making between the local and provincial sphere of government.
- Respective municipalities will have single integrated zoning schemes. The essence is that we can embrace the understanding that land use decisions will be informed by the principles of spatial justice, spatial sustainability, efficiency, good administration and flexibility.
This legislation also defines the responsibility which I will have as the Competent Authority. The Bill will create this new context of land use decision-making and will require of me to consider important factors of consideration such as how best to:
- Maximise economic potential for the Province while making sure that the agricultural, tourism and heritage resources are protected.
- Lead a responsive government by taking into consideration the impact which climate change will have on land use planning decisions.
- Define the concept of sustainable forward planning by addressing the past spatial patterns.
Ladies and gentlemen, this legislation will introduce the notion of spatial justice, efficiency, good administration and the necessary flexibility required in terms of land use decision-making.
If we are to allow for the development of sustainable livelihoods in communities, then we must be smart about land use decision-making. These are some of the imperatives which the bill will introduce to key stakeholders who will be affected by this legislation:
- A municipality must consider a written assessment of and recommendation by a registered planner before deciding on a land use application.
- This also means that development applications will require both municipal and provincial approval.
We envisage that the Bill, once promulgated as an Act, will be institutionalised in April 2014. A Municipal Readiness Programme has been developed in recognising that municipalities are not adequately capacitated to readily embrace the devolution of powers to the local sphere. The basis of this programme is primarily aimed at capacity building.
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