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  • Writer's pictureDu Plooy Inc


To get land to the stage where houses can be built on is a very interesting and far from simple process. This is what is happening behind the scenes before the houses are built:

Firstly you have to acquire and purchase land suitable for the specific development. It would be recommended to study the land before purchase. This study should include factors such as geotechnical studies, environmental studies, availability of bulk services, and the development scope of the local authority, feasibility studies and possible public objections. It would be advised to purchase land with suspensive conditions regarding approvals and studies.

After purchase you need to appoint a professional team. This will include a town planner, geotechnical engineer, civil engineer, electrical engineer, land surveyor, environmental assessment practitioner, conveyancer, traffic engineer and a legal team.

A site study/analysis then needs to be done:

All consultants need to do a preliminary study in their respected fields to find out what needs to be done to make the development possible. This will assist with the feasibility studies and engineering scopes that have to be done later:

The geotechnical engineer needs to do a report to find out what the soil conditions are, what development will be allowed and what extra costs will be involved to install engineering services.

If the land falls in a dolomitic area, the report needs to be submitted to Council for Geoscience. Council for Geoscience will then issue approval of the report and the geotechnical engineer and Department of Geoscience have to stamp and sign off the final layout plan.

The environmental assessment practitioner needs to do an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to see how the development will impact the environment, to protect the ecological processes and confirm that no land in the proposed development is declared as a conservation area. This EIA should then be submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment for Environmental Authorisation. The department will after approval issue a Record of Decision (ROD) for the planned area.

The flood levels need to be investigated to determine the 1:50 and 1:100 year flood line.

The traffic engineer needs to do a traffic impact assessment (TIA) to see what effects the new development will have on the existing roads in the area.

The civil engineer and electrical engineer needs to obtain a bulk link for electricity, water and sewer and get in writing letters confirming availability of services for the development.

The town planner can obtain a contour plan of the area and then start with a draft layout plan. This layout will also assist with the preliminary reports that have to be done by the professional team.

Applications to Department of Minerals and Energy to obtain mineral rights holder consent needs to be done.

After amendments the town planner can now draw the final layout plan.

The civil engineer can now do the outline scheme report based on the final layout plan.

The town planner needs to submit the application to the Town planning Department for township establishment. The application has to be advertised in two newspapers, the provincial government gazette and on the proposed site. This is mainly to give the public chance to object to any matter regarding the township approval.

The township application normally includes (but not limited) to the following:

  • Layout plan

  • Geotechnical report

  • Traffic Impact Assessment

  • Environmental Impact Assessment (ROD)

  • Title deed

  • Memorandum – motivating need for the proposed development

  • Outline scheme report

  • Department of Minerals and Energy Consent

  • Flood line report

The local authority should then in line and during the township application process get comments from its internal departments and other departments such as Eskom, Randwater, Telkom, Department of Agriculture etc. The local authority will only consider the application once all comments are received.

The local authority will then issue a letter approving in principle the establishment of the township subject to certain conditions. If the developer accepts these conditions, they become final and subject to pre proclamation conditions that the developer needs to comply with within one year of approval. This will mostly be requiring engineering agreements and outline scheme reports.

In preparing the conditions of establishment, the developer and the local authority will now enter into a service agreement. Normally the developer will install and the local authority maintains the services. The service agreement should include the outline scheme report.

This will indicate where the bulk services are, where to connect, what the current capacity is and the cost estimates for installation.

The electrical engineer should also submit an application to the electricity regulator in the area i.e. Eskom, City Power to request electricity supply.

After approval of the township, the land surveyor has a time limit of one year to lodge an application for approval with the Surveyor–General. The land surveyor draws a general plan, pegs the stands and submits it for approval. A copy of the approved general plan needs to be submitted to the local authority.

Before a township register can be opened, the developer needs to comply with all pre proclamation conditions determined by the local authority. When all conditions have been met and necessary documents submitted to the local authority, they can issue a section 101(based on the township ordinance 15 of 1986*). This means that the services are available and that the township can be proclaimed.

After approval of the general plan, signed services agreement and approved civil drawings, the developer may proceed with installation of services.

After services are installed, a section 82(based on the township ordinance 15 of 1986*) NOTE IN TERMS OF SPLUMA AND PROVICES THE SERVICES CERTIFICATE NAME AND SECTION WILL BE DIFFERENT is required before any transfers of erven can take place. A section 82 will only be issued once all engineering services have been installed and approved and all the bulk contributions have been paid. The developer also needs to provide a guarantee to the local authority. This amount should be to the value of 10% of the total construction cost and must be valid for one year.

After this the erven can be transferred and building plans can be handed in for approval.

*the sections referred to is for townships in Gauteng established in terms of the township ordinance act 15 of 1986. All municipalities now have their own bylaws established in terms of the SPLUMA act and each one has different section numbers

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