Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Western Capeto reinstate lapsed use rights for landowners

Since the Western Cape Land Use Planning Ordinance (LUPO, 15 of 1985) commenced on 1 July 1986, the core principle of Section 14(2) was that use rights in question would have lapsed on 30 June 2001.

The 15-year transitional period was lengthened to a grace period of 21 years by a number of Amendment Acts to expire on 30 June 2007. This was to be extended with a further six months, but the then Premier only assented to the relevant Amendment Act on 2 July 2007 two days after the rights had lapsed. It was promulgated in the Provincial Gazette on 5 July 2007.

The problem is that the local authorities and the industry were not aware of the lapsing of the use rights, and applications of various types have been submitted for consideration, and in some instances considered, as if the time period prescribed in Section 14(2) had not lapsed.

LUPO regulates land use planning in the province at local authority level.

When LUPO commenced, any town-planning scheme in force under the Township Ordinance of 1934 (repealed by LUPO), was deemed to be a zoning scheme in force in terms of LUPO. The rights granted in terms of any such zoning scheme were preserved, valid and enforceable as if granted pursuant to the provisions of LUPO.

Where the zonings, and thus the rights upon which any applications dependent, no longer exist, the very basis of such application falls away.

This situation that has arisen in the middle of June 2007 (when I was the provincial Minister of Health), only came to my attention towards the end of last year (2008). I immediately instructed a legal opinion be obtained to look at the options to resolve the predicament amicably. And I had the local authorities informed in a circular.

I showed and have all intentions to rectify the situation.

I received this opinion yesterday (28 January 2009). After considering this I decided to speedily put a process in place to rectify the dilemma. I am preparing further extending legislation to submit to the provincial Cabinet and Western Cape Provincial Parliament to reinstate the unintended lapse of land use rights.

This will bring back certainty, stability and clear direction for local government and the industry, says provincial Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Pierre Uys.

Cobus Grobler (media officer) 073 133 7299
Minister Uys 082 4555 144

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