Historically, provinces had their own laws to regulate land use and development in South Africa. However, in pursuit of harmonising these under each municipality to achieve economic growth, efficient use and development of land, reservation of environmental and natural resources, the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 (SPLUMA) was promulgated.
This was done to empower all municipalities in South Africa to enact by-laws with regards to land use and development within their jurisdictions.
The idea was to have land use and development follow uniform standards and parameters within municipalities.
Central to the implementation of SPLUMA was to have provisions and by-laws that categorise land use, preserve environmental integrity, promote affordable housing in land earmarked for residential settlement and also regulate such matters as rezoning applications, suspension of restrictive conditions and township establishment.
Some municipalities have done so while others have adopted standardised regulations from laws that existed.
In practice, the municipality adopts a single land use management scheme within 5 years as from 1 July 2015 when the Act commenced.
From this scheme, all land use and development under the jurisdiction of the municipality must be applied for, utilised, and reserved as per such land use scheme.
For example, land allocated for industrial and commercial activity may not be used for residential or recreational purposes.
The Act establishes that a certificate be issued by municipalities in their by-laws before transfer of immovable property at the Deeds Registry. The municipality is to certify that;
Property owners must therefore ensure that their properties, land use and developments thereon are compliant with the above so as not to be prejudiced by the withholding of such certificate in municipalities where the certificate is strictly required.
This means that it must be ensured that buildings on the property have approved plans, the use of the property is according to the land use zone of the municipality scheme, ensure that the buildings do not encroach outside the lawful boundaries of the property and such other.
Making sure of these will then make certain pertaining to the issuing of certificate upon application.
Our able team of conveyancers and property attorneys stand ready to comprehensively assist you with these and other property related matters. Contact us to book a consultation.
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