Press advisory on Spatial Planning Seminar
5 August 2010On Thursday, 5 August 2010, the National Planning Commission held a seminar on spatial planning norms. Together with the ministers of Human Settlements, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Rural Development and Land Affairs and Environmental Affairs, the National Planning Commission is facilitating a process whereby we can arrive at a common position on spatial planning norms and land use management.
One of the enduring legacies of Apartheid is the distorted spatial patterns observable in South Africa. At a national level, we have large pockets of relatively dense rural settlements in the former homelands, far from areas of economic activity, on poor quality land. Even today, these regions are the poorest in the country, with lower levels of employment, high dependency on social grants and migrant remittances and lower access to basic amenities. Within our major cities, the poor often live far from areas of economic activity, having to spend a disproportionate amount of their money and time travelling to work, for leisure or to buy certain basics.
Despite our best intentions and efforts, we have not made significant progress in remedying this situation. In fact, in some instances, we have set Apartheid in concrete. Beyond the imperatives of strengthening social cohesion and overcoming the apartheid spatial legacy, coherent spatial policy is increasingly recognised to be critical in enabling countries to improve economic performance, to create a more rational organisation of land uses, to better balance demands for development with the need to protect the environment and to take advantage of the opportunities presented by globalisation and technological innovations.
Over the next few months, the Planning Commission will lead a process whereby we can develop appropriate spatial planning norms for South Africa, design the instruments through which these norms can be implemented and establish the legal and regulatory capacity to give effect to these norms. The seminar held yesterday was just the first step in this process.
The seminar agenda covered an analysis of spatial development trends, perspectives on systems of planning and roles and responsibilities in achieving our spatial planning vision. Speakers on the programmes included Minister Manuel, Philip Harrison (Wits), Elroy Africa (COGTA), Neva Makgetla (EDD), Ivor Turok (HSRC), Edgar Pieterse (UCT) and Nozizwe Makgalemele (Rural dev.). Several commissioners from the NPC participated in the seminar as speakers and presenters. The seminar also included officials from national government departments, municipalities, academia, the DBSA, non-governmental organisations and other relevant experts.
The process should take about four to six months and will involve broader public input down the line. Opening remarks by Minister Manuel, Chairperson of the National Planning Commission, is available on the NPC’s website.
For more information, contact Kuben Naidoo on 012 308 1811.