The public participation period on the proposed amendments to the Municipal Planning By-law (MPBL) is in its final week. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - The public participation period on the proposed amendments to the Municipal Planning By-law (MPBL) is in its final week. Residents and residents’ associations are encouraged to attend the public hearing on Saturday 30 March 2019 where they will have the opportunity to make oral submissions.

"The Municipal Planning By-law regulates developments and land use in Cape Town. The City is proposing a number of amendments to the by-law and I want to remind those who haven’t participated yet that there are only five days left to make submissions or to comment on the proposals. I’m urging residents and interested and affected parties to make use of this very important opportunity as the proposed amendments will affect all of us who live and work in Cape Town," said Mayco Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Nieuwoudt.

Some of the amendments pertain to emergency housing, the installation of minor freestanding cell masts, a third dwelling as an additional use right, and short-term letting from flats, among others.

The public hearing is taking place as follows:

Date:    Saturday 30 March 2019

Venue: Subcouncil Chamber 4, corner of Voortrekker and Tallent Roads, Parow

Time:     10:00 – 14:00

Those who would like to make submissions are requested to register by sending an email to Zandile Mahlasela at [email protected] A copy of the presentation must be submitted to Mahlasela before 30 March 2019. Participants will have ten minutes to make oral presentations.

The closing date for all submissions is Monday 1 April 2019.

The proposed amendments to the MPBL are part of the City’s annual review process and to give effect to the policies and strategies that have been adopted by the City Council over the past few years.

"We’ve hosted six information sessions in Milnerton, Kraaifontein, the Cape Town Central Business District, Fish Hoek, Goodwood, and Strand since the participation period started on 1 March 2019. I want to thank those who’ve attended the sessions.

"Property owners must take note that some of the proposed amendments may have an impact on property rights, as well as on future developments and land uses. It’s not too late to familiarise yourself with what is being proposed," said Nieuwoudt.

The full set of proposed amendments and the guideline document with more information are available at the 24 subcouncil offices and on the City’s website at

Residents are advised to take note of the following proposed amendments: 

  • Amendments to the emergency housing provisions will enable the City to provide temporary housing on land that may not be zoned for such purpose for a period of six months without needing to undertake a public participation process beforehand. The proposed amendment will allow for families that are left homeless due to emergencies such as fires and floods to be temporary relocated to an alternative site in a timeous manner.
  • To insert provisions that will control the height and permeation, among others, of standard boundary walls.
  • The City is proposing an additional level to measure height. Height is a contentious issue on sites and in areas with steep slopes and most complaints relate to the impact of height on neighbouring views, privacy and sunlight. The intention is to, in the end, produce a ground-level map that will cover all sites and land in Cape Town so that there is certainty in terms of the allowed height for each and every site or property across the city.
  • It includes a new provision that allows for short-term letting from a house or flat for a period not exceeding 30 consecutive days. This is in response to the increase in short-term letting via online platforms such as AirBnB.
  • Amendments are proposed to allow for the installation of minor freestanding cell masts: properties zoned as Community Use such as churches, schools, clinics and hospitals; Utilities; Transport 1 and Transport 2; Public Open Space; as well as Agriculture to be allowed to install minor freestanding cell masts (of less than 12 m in height) or minor rooftop masts (of less than 1,5 m in height) as of right. This means that these minor freestanding masts and minor rooftop masts can be installed at or on these sites without prior land use approval from the City or adjacent land owners. Building plan approvals may still be required.
  • A minor rooftop cell mast of less than 1,5 m in height is allowed as a consent use for properties zoned as Single Residential 1 and Single Residential 2; as well as for properties zoned as General Residential 1 – 6. This means that the owner of the property must still apply to the City for permission to install this structure.
  • The proposal to remove the existing third dwelling overlay zone and add a third dwelling as an additional use right for properties zoned as Single Residential. A third dwelling as of right means that the property owner is allowed to add a third dwelling on the property without prior approval from the City, subject to the normal development rules of the property, the approval of a building plan, and confirmation from the City that there is water, sanitation, and electricity available for the third dwelling.
  • An amendment to the Small and Micro Enterprise Overlay Zone that will provide certain business rights, among which the right to operate an office, guesthouse, business, or restaurant from properties adjacent to scheduled public transport services such as the MyCiTi bus service and passenger rail services.
  • An amendment that will allow the City to also use email to correspond with those who comment or object to development applications.
  • An amendment that proposes that objections and appeals in terms of the by-law be submitted on a standardised form to ensure that the City is provided with the relevant and required information. Objectors and appellants will still be able to submit additional and supporting documents together with the form.
  • An amendment that states that no more than one staff quarter is permitted on a land unit without the City’s consent. This is to allow the City to consider the legitimacy of domestic staff quarters and the impact it may have on neighbours.

Comments, input or recommendations in respect of the proposed amendments can be submitted by:


Cape Argus