Building plans are a requirement of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act (as laid down by the national government), which requires that plans must be approved within 30 days, in instances of plans under 500m2, or 60 days with larger plans. The submission of these plans does not require public participation or comment.
However, what the writer fails to grasp is that in many of these submissions there may be a requirement by the applicant to apply for a departure or departures from requirements of the Cape Town Municipal Planning By-law (previously known as the Cape Town Zoning Scheme) or a special consent from the council in terms of the same by-law, to allow the building that is being applied for to be constructed on the erf or erven being applied for.
The Cape Town Municipal Planning By-law was promulgated as a requirement of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, also another national government (note: ANC legislation) law that requires full public participation, which may raise objections from the public that need to be responded to by the applicant.
About 18 months ago, the DA-led City, realising that the application process in terms of the Planning By-law might lead to unnecessary delays, amended the by-law in certain instances to allow for shorter comment and response periods by the applicants and/ or objectors.
However, in some instances there may be heritage or environmental authorities that may need to be consulted prior to approval. In these instances, there may be further delays.
I believe the writer has not considered the separate pieces of legislation, and has conflated the process as a singular process.
Incidentally, I would also like to add that the ANC-led national government, in promulgating the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, stripped councillors - who are elected to represent the public - of the right to adjudicate on planning applications that affected their wards, and transferred these rights to an outside group of persons, with the only appeal being to the executive mayor.
This has led to much frustration from various communities, who had always expected their councillor to consider all the merits.
Alderman Taki Amira
Councillor: Ward 21