IDEAL: Cape Town comes 6th in the middle-income country cities behind Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Shanghai and Mexico City, and top of Africa.Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town is proposing amendments to the Municipal Planning By-law which regulates developments and land use in the city. Residents are encouraged to read the guideline document about the proposed amendments as these will have an impact on all who live and work in Cape Town.

The City will embark on a public participation process from 1 March to 1 April 2019 which will provide residents with an opportunity to comment on the proposed amendments.

The majority of the proposed amendments are administrative in nature and are intended to streamline application processes. However, a guideline document with more information about the amendments, some of which may affect property rights, will be available at the 24 subcouncil offices and on the City’s website at as from Friday, 1 March 2019.

The City will also host information sessions to make residents and interested and affected parties aware of the impact and consequences of the proposed amendments. The first of these information sessions will take place as follows:
  • 5 March 2019 from 19:00 to 21:00 at the Milnerton municipal building in Bridle Way, Royal Ascot
  • 6 March 2019 from 19:00 to 21:00 at the Subcouncil chamber in Brighton Road, Kraaifontein
  • 7 March 2019 from 19:00 to 21:00 at the Civic Centre in Hertzog Boulevard, Cape Town
  • 12 March 2019 from 19:00 to 21:00 at the Fish Hoek municipal offices, Central Circle off Recreation Road, Fish Hoek
  • 13 March 2019 from 19:00 to 21:00 at the Subcouncil chamber on the corner of Voortrekker Road and Molteno Street, Goodwood
  • 14 March 2019 from 19:00 to 21:00 at the Subcouncil chamber on the corner of Fagan Street and Main Road, Strand
Furthermore, residents will have the opportunity to make oral presentations about the proposed amendments as follows:
  • 30 March 2019 from 10:00 to 14:00 at the Subcouncil chamber on the corner of Voortrekker and Tallent Roads, Parow
"Buying property is the biggest financial investment that most people will make in their lives. Property owners are therefore encouraged to understand the implications of the Municipal Planning By-law, the reasons for the proposed amendments to the by-law, and the impact that these may have on their investment. Also, the Municipal Planning By-law has a big impact on the economy of the city as it regulates how land can be used throughout Cape Town," said Mayco Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Nieuwoudt.

"I’m urging residents to please make an effort to read the guideline document once it’s available, and to attend the information sessions. The proposed amendments will have an impact on future developments and land uses. The proposed amendments also introduce some amended rights to property owners and provide more clarity about what’s allowed and what’s not in the building environment.

"All of us who live in Cape Town must participate in this commenting process. Amendments to planning by-laws always have an impact on what our suburbs and cities will look like a few years down the line. It’s therefore important to get involved and to contribute to the discussion," said Nieuwoudt.

Residents are reminded that all land units within the City have a base zoning that determines what the land can be used for, and how the land may be developed. This zoning, among others, is indicated in the Development Management Scheme (DMS) and the DMS is included in the Municipal Planning By-law.

Apart from the guideline document, the full set of proposed amendments will be available to the public as from 1 March 2019. Some of the proposed amendments are listed below:
  • Amendments to the emergency housing provisions to enable the City to respond timeously to emergency situations when residents are displaced because of fires and floods, for example. The amendments 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.
  • To insert provisions that will control the height and permeation, among others, of standard boundary walls.
  • The method of measuring height has always been a contentious issue, especially on sites and in areas with steep slopes. Most complaints relate to the impact of height on neighbours’ views, privacy and sunlight. The City is proposing a new method to measure height. 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 / property across the city.
  • A new provision that allows for short-term letting from a dwelling unit such as 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.
  • It is proposed that 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, 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 repeal the Third Dwelling Overlay Zone and add it 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.
  • Some of the other amendments relate to shelters, parking provisions, how the City communicates with objectors to applications, decision-making criteria, a new Toll Road Base Zone, domestic staff quarters, and the submission process for objections and appeals.
"The proposed amendments to the Municipal Planning By-law are part of our annual review process, and are also intended to give effect to the policies and strategies that the City Council has adopted over the past few years. I’m looking forward to our engagement with residents and affected parties about these proposals in the coming weeks," said Nieuwoudt.

Comments, input or recommendations in respect of the proposed amendments can be submitted by e mail to: [email protected] and by  visiting


Cape Argus