Better town planning for North West municipalities

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The head of the department, Monnapula Motlogelwa, said the Town Planning Support Forum was created by his department to enable town planners to identify challenges and assess the state of readiness for the implementation of SPLUMA. The head of the department, Monnapula Motlogelwa, said the Town Planning Support Forum was created by his department to enable town planners to identify challenges and assess the state of readiness for the implementation of SPLUMA.

Municipalities in the North West are set to enjoy better town planning that promotes the social and economic integration of communities, while making the best use of available land.

This comes after the provincial Department of Local Government and Human Settlements committed to help municipalities to speed up the implementation of the objectives of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA).

SPLUMA seeks to ensure that spatial planning and land use management in the country is done in a way that encourages the growth of socially integrated communities, while at the same time making amenities accessible to everyone.

It addresses the imbalanced spatial planning of the past, where many communities were cut off from facilities, economic opportunities and other convenient services available in towns.

SPLUMA was approved by President Jacob Zuma on 5 August 2013.

The North West Local Government Department made the commitment to help municipalities to achieve the vision set out in SPLUMA at the provincial Town Planning Support Forum, which was held recently outside Rustenburg.

The forum saw provincial town planners seek solutions to deal with the challenges of implementing SPLUMA.

During the gathering, a presentation of the Municipal Readiness Assessment Template (MRAT) revealed that municipalities in the province are lagging behind in putting the proper systems in place to implement SPLUMA.

Challenges raised include no specific official accountable to SPLUMA, lack of continuity and capacity, and difficulty in understanding roles and responsibilities, which leads to the unavailability of implementation plans.

The head of the department, Monnapula Motlogelwa, said the Town Planning Support Forum was created by his department to enable town planners to identify challenges and assess the state of readiness for the implementation of SPLUMA.

“We all know the kind of challenges we are facing when dealing with this particular legislation. There are serious issues of non-compliance and implementation.

“We need to assess all municipalities to get an indication on how ready they are in terms of implementation of SPLUMA,” he said.

Helping municipalities comply with SPLUMA

By September this year, municipalities need to have Municipal Planning Tribunals in order to implement Chapter 6 of SPLUMA, which deals with land development management.

Motlogelwa said his department will do all it can to ensure that municipalities are ready by September.

“The provincial government is willing to intervene where possible and absolutely necessary. We will also support those that seem to not have the necessary capacity to implement SPLUMA.

“We need to also… encourage councils to pass resolutions on the matter… and prepare a costing model so that we can speed up compliance and implementation,” he said.

An official from the Rural Development and Land Reform Department, Sunday Ogunronbi, said municipalities in the province have to put in place proper management systems for the implementation of SPLUMA.

“Municipalities need to find out what is it that they need to do to get ready for implementation.

“The MRAT has given us an indication as to where we are, and emphasis should now be on the work we need to do and the reality of it thereof,” he said.

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Gugile Nkwinti  |  Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLU  |  Monnapula Motlogelwa