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Township Establishment in Tshwane and Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipalities

Brief overview of the township establishment process in Tshwane and Joburg municipalities

Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality and Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality are two of the largest municipalities in South Africa, located in the Gauteng province. In terms of land development and land use applications, both municipalities are governed by The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 (SPLUMA).

The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) is a key piece of legislation that governs land use management and planning in across South Africa. Both Tshwane and Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipalities have implemented their own SPLUMA By-laws, which serve as the local legislation for land use management and planning within their jurisdictions.

The Tshwane SPLUMA By-laws outline the processes and procedures for land use management and planning in the municipality, including procedures for land development applications, rezoning, and subdivision of land, consolidation of land, additional or second dwelling, consent use application, relaxation of building lines and building heights. Similarly, the Johannesburg SPLUMA By-laws provide a framework for land use management and planning in the municipality.

However, the adoption of The Policy on the Granting of Land Use Rights on Farm Portions and Agricultural Holdings has made it compulsory for developers to lodge township establishment application rather than rezoning or Consent use.

Township establishment process

The township establishment process in Tshwane and Johannesburg is governed by the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) of 2013. This act sets out the procedures that must be followed to establish a new township. The process can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Land acquisition: The first step in establishing a new township is to acquire the land on which the development will take place. This can be done by purchasing the land from private landowners or government.
  2. Application for township establishment: Once the land has been acquired, the developer must apply for township establishment to the Metropolitan Municipality. This application must include a layout plan, motivation memorandum and specialist studies. List of required studies for a township establishment process include: Traffic Impact Assessment, Environmental Impact Assessment, Geotechnical Report, Conveyancing certificate, Land Survey Certificate, Civil Services Engineering Report, Electrical Engineering report, Heritage Assessment Impact, Floodline report, Geohydrological report, Internal and External department: The submitted application will be reviewed for completeness by the City Planning Department. If complete, the application will be circulated across internal departments for input. The applicant will also be requested to engage external organs of state for inputs, such as department of Agriculture and Department of Transport.
  1. Public participation: After 28 days from submitting, the applicant will be allowed to conduct a public participation. This process includes advertising on local newspaper and provincial gazette for two consecutive weeks, site notices, and notifying the adjacent owners through registered mail. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed development. The municipality will consider these comments when deciding on whether to approve the application.
  2. Approval: If the application does not have negative comments or objections, it will be recommended for approval by council. The approval letter will come with conditions of approval by all interested and affected parties. For instance, the department of roads might request the developer to upgrade the access to the property before the final approval certificate is granted.

Benefits of Township Establishment

The establishment of a township can also bring about a range of benefits to the developer, including:

  1. Revenue Generation: Township development can generate significant revenue for the developer, through the sale of residential, commercial, and industrial stands, as well as through rental income from leased properties.
  2. Brand Recognition: Successful township development can enhance the reputation of the developer, leading to increased brand recognition and market share.
  3. Reduced Risks: Developing a township as opposed to individual properties reduces the risks associated with property development, such as market fluctuations and individual property sales.
  4. Economies of Scale: Developing a township provides economies of scale, with bulk purchasing of materials and services, and reduced overheads, leading to cost savings for the developer.
  5. Sustainable Development: Township development can be designed to incorporate sustainable principles, such as the use of renewable energy sources and water recycling, which can reduce operational costs for the developer over time.

Overall, township establishment can provide significant revenue generation, reduce risks, and provide economies of scale for the developer. Sustainable development principles can also lead to cost savings and enhanced reputation, further contributing to the long-term benefits of township establishment.


The township establishment process in the Tshwane and Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipalities is a complex and lengthy process that requires careful planning and execution. It is important for developers to work closely with an experienced town planner who is familiar with the By-Laws and processes of these municipalities. By following the proper procedures and obtaining all necessary approvals, developers can create new residential and commercial areas that can produce good return on investment.

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