Local law making in Cape Town: A case study of the municipal planning by-law process
de Visser, Jaap
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This report examines municipal law making surrounding land use planning in the City of Cape Town. It investigates the extent to which the City of Cape Town has powers to make by-laws on land use planning and how much of that power is circumscribed by other state organs and levels. It also examines the institutional and practical context in which municipal law making takes place in order to assess the actual relevance of the city’s power to make law. The assumption, underlying the interest in city law making in planning is that cities are best placed to design local legal frameworks to address urban infrastructure challenges. The research question in the report thus becomes: What is the legal and practical space for the City of Cape Town to use municipal law making in land use planning to realise policy ambitions such as the acceleration of housing development, progressive tenure rights and dealing with climate change? The Report commences with an overview of the legal and policy framework for law making after which an assessment of the City’s institutional and practical context is conducted. It concludes that municipal law making in land use planning is uncharted territory, not only in South Africa but even internationally. The reality that emerges from the research is that the space for city innovation in planning has been gradually closed down by recently adopted national and provincial legislation. Despite this, the City of Cape Town’s municipal planning by-law critically deals with matters left open by national and provincial planning laws and will fulfil an important role in improving the City’s ability to administer land use management.