Provinsies en stadsrade ondermyn demokrasie met nuwe wetgewing

Deel op

Vernietig openbare deelnameproses landswyd en sentraliseer mag

Deel op

KAAPSTAD. – Die Stad Kaapstad onder aanvoering van burgemeester Patricia de Lille en die DA Alliansie probeer tans drakoniese munisipale wetgewing deur die stadsraad gevoer te kry wat die amptenary in absolute beheer oor die woonomgewing van elke inwoner sal plaas.

Hierdie munisipale konsep-verordening waarmee Kaapstad nou besig is, volg op die nasionale Wet op Ruimtelike Beplanning en Grondgebruik wat verlede jaar in September deur die volksraad aanvaar is. Dit is gevolg deur Wet nommer 3 van 2014, die Wet op die Bestuur van Grondgebruik, wat in Februarie vanjaar deur die Provinsiale Rade aanvaar is en vir elke provinsie in die land geld. Albei hierdie wette word in September vanjaar van krag.

Die deurlopende beleid wat in hierdie opeenvolgende wette vervat is, is onteenseglik gerig op die sentralisering van provinsiale en munisipale mag, en die afskaling van openbare deelname en burgerlike insae in die regeringsproses.

Die Wet op die Bestuur van Grondgebruik bied ‘n bloudruk vir die skep van verdere munisipale verordeninge om openbare deelname tot niet te maak en munisipale mag te verskerp. Die meeste munisipaliteite gebruik reeds die provinsiale wetgewing om delegasiemagte aan burgemeesters en munisipale bestuurders oor te dra. Hierdie stadsraadslede en munisipale amptenare verkry gevolglik ongekende mag om despoties oor belastingbetalers te heers.
Die openbare deelnameproses is een van die min oorblywende magte wat Jan Publiek nog het om in ‘n mate die aard en status van sy woonomgewing te beheer en despotiese mag van amptenare en stadsraadslede af te weer.
Slaag die provinsies en stadsrade later vanjaar in hul doel, sal elke inwoner landswyd maar net gelate kan toekyk hoedat amptenare, burgemeesters en stadsraadslede na willekeur besluit wat in die woonbuurte mag gebeur en wat nie. So sal een van die belangrikste pilare van die demokrasie in Suid-Afrika val.

Kapitaalkragtige en invloedryke ontwikkelaars, byvoorbeeld, sal kan sloop en bou net soos hulle wil sonder om enige woonbuurt se aard en status, asook die regte, gevoelens en wense van die inwoners, hoegenaamd in ag te neem.
Die ontwikkelaars se vriende in die stadsraad en amptenary gaan hulle vrye teuels gee omdat groot kapitaal in die spel is. Kaapstad noem en roem homself tans daarop dat hy die Ontwikkelingshoofstad van die Wêreld is.

Geen hofaksie sal die amptenary en hul magtige vriende dan kan keer nie, want die openbare deelnameproses sal dan nie meer bestaan nie.

Dit is in landsbelang dat elke burgerlike eiendomseienaar alle druk op hul politieke verteenwoordigers plaas om die huidige poging tot sentralisasie van mag deur die provinsies en munisipaliteite, gesteun deur die sentrale regering, te stuit.

– praag-korrespondent in Kaapstad

* * *

COMMENT ON CITY OF CAPE TOWN DRAFT MUNICIPAL PLANNING BYLAW (version A1)

compiled by ML Roux

on behalf of the Habitat Council and CAPTRUST

This comment is submitted on behalf of the Habitat Council and of the Cape Environmental Trust (CAPTRUST)

Further to these four pages of comment, we also attach a summary in Excel format of certain problematic sections of the bylaw  which identify to what extent democratic principles are ignored by the Bylaw.

 

  1. Public participation

In general , it would appear that there is a (deliberate?) failure to give a proper place in the system to Public Participation. We believe this to be contrary to the Constitution and to PAJA and NEMA.  It smacks of an invidious centralization of power, and is undemocratic. We urgently request that the provision for public participation be brought in line with the provision in these three Acts.

  1. Principles and policy

 

Although the Bylaw purports to deal with development principles, it does not provide us with the comprehensive policy  the City intends to apply  with respect to land use decisions . Such  policy must, after all,  guide decision-making.

 

In terms of  Section 3(7) of Land Use Planning Act [LUPA (Act 3 of 2014)], the Provincial Minister must support municipalities to perform their land use planning functions through appropriate measures, including one or more of the following –

S 3(7)(b) issuing standardised models or drafts of municipal policy, by-laws, decisions and forms

At what stage will the City provide us with the policies they will be applying when making decisions?

Basis of assessment of land use applications

S 49 of LUPA reads that, at the least, regard must be had to –

  1. Spatial Development  frameworks

  2. Applicable structure plans

(c) Principles in Chapter VI [of LUPA,  see below]

(d) the desirability of the proposed land use

 

Land Use Planning Principles listed in Chapter VI  of LUPA

We quote the following instances:

LUPA S 59(2)  Land use planning is guided by the following principles of spatial sustainability:

  1. Land use planning should

(ii)  ensure protection of prime, unique and high potential agricultural land

  1. The sustained protection of the environment should be ensured by having regard to the following:

  1. Natural habitat, ecological corridors and areas with high biodiversity importance

  2. The provincial heritage and tourism resources

  3. Areas unsuitable for development, eg. flood plains, steep slopes, wetlands… and landscapes and natural features of cultural significance

 

Note the reference to heritage resources and cultural significance. These terms, for example, occur  nowhere in the Bylaw.

    3.    Scant mention of protection of the environment in the Bylaw

[Compare the requirements of the Land Use Planning Act [LUPA (Act 3 of 2014)]

Only in 10(2)(c) of the Bylaw is there mention of environmental features (environmentally sensitive areas, and high potential agricultural land) that must be mentioned in a Spatial Development Framework.

 

LUPA makes far more detailed and frequent mention of environmental protection.

It determines that the Provincial Minister must monitor provincial land use planning and the impact of one or more of the following matters on provincial land use planning:

Lupa S3(5)(f)  Protection of biodiversity, heritage, and agricultural resources.

 

LUPA S 10(3)(d) mentions heritage, agricultural and tourism resources of provincial importance.

 

A municipal spatial development framework must be aligned with the provincial development plans and strategies and must include a map identifying at least the following in the municipal area.

LUPA S 10(3)(e) reads, “where relevant, area of recognized provincial ecological value, including –

  1. Nature conservation areas

  2. Areas of high biodiversity value

  3. Areas requiring dedicated soil conservation

  4. Areas requiring dedicated strategies to adapt to climate change and mitigate the impact of climate change.”

Does the City not consider it necessary to give prominence to environmental aspects??

Chapter 6, Part 8  of the Bylaw:  CONDITIONS at long last mentions some environmental features:

S 40(1) When a municipality approves a land use application subject to conditions, the conditions must be reasonable conditions and must arise from the approval of the proposed utilization of the land.

S 40(2) These may include

(e) agricultural or heritage resource conservation

(f) biodiversity conservation and management.

 

  1. Locus standi

 

It is not made clear in the Bylaw that the public, whether  concerned individuals  or NGOs,  will have locus standi, such as is bestowed  in S43 of  NEMA and S 38 of the Constitution. We furthermore need to have it stated clearly in the Bylaw that persons or organizations litigating in the public interest will not be held liable for legal costs.

 

  1. Establishment of Municipal Planning Tribunals

 

A municipality must, in order to determine land use and land development applications within its municipal area, establish a Municipal Planning Tribunal.  With respect to the composition of a Municipal Planning Tribunal, (see S114(1)(d)), we ask that an appropriately qualified independent designated representative of a local civic or conservation organization  be included among the members of the  tribunal who are not officials.

 

  1. The appeal process

We have not been able to gain clarity on what the position is regarding appeals. We must trust that what the Bylaw prescribes will be in line with the requirements of PAJA and the Municipal Systems Act.

The following sections must be commented on:

Section 113 (2) – the appeal authority must be an impartial assessor unconnected with the City’s political or administrative structure.  As proposed, the appeal authority is judge and jury in its own cause, which is contrary to the country’s constitution

Section 114 (1) – the number of members of the Tribunal who are not officials must exceed the number who are officials

Section 118 (1) – the Tribunal must elect its chairman and deputy chairman from among its members.  A City designation of these detracts from the impartiality of the Tribunal’s decisions

 

Kindly acknowledge receipt of this submission.

Youurs sincerely

 

Marie-Lou Roux

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