Newsletter home   Previous issues   ULM website    
  April 2011
  Issue homepage
  Gauging Urban LandMark's impact over the last five years
  Urban LandMark alert:
Our programme cycle is coming to an end - whereto from here?
  What are we working on?
  New publication from Lincoln Institute of Land Policy: Climate Change and Land Policies
  In the news
Home » April 2011 » Gauging Urban LandMark's impact over the last five years

Urban LandMark's involvement in the redrafting of South Africa's Land Use Management Bill

Our role in the reformulation of a more effective, legally stronger and more pro-poor LUMB

After the withdrawal of the draft Bill in 2008, Urban LandMark provided technical as well as financial support to an inter-ministerial reference group, co-ordinated by the Presidency, tasked to guide the drafting of a new, more effective, legally stronger and more pro-poor national land use management law.

Urban LandMark's support to the Presidency and its inter-departmental reference group on a regulatory impact assessment of the LUMB led to three major pieces of research being published - a review of the Development Facilitation Act and its impacts, a dossier of legal opinions and precedents on land use management in South Africa and a first draft revised LUMB.

Deputy Director-General at the Presidency Hassen Mohamed expressed satisfaction with the outputs from Urban LandMark's involvement in the process, in particular the fact that a framework was produced that could inform a new land-use process and assist in preparing new spatial and land-use legislation.

"To have a good piece of legislation that responds to key issues in the minds of practitioners and developers... we achieved this. The old system experienced fragmentation on three fronts: legislative (too much legislation and apartheid-era legislation), conceptual (people's relationship to spatial planning) and institutional (the splitting of departments). The proposed legislation tries to address this but its effectiveness can only be seen once the legislation is implemented.

"We were able to conduct a focus group with external experts across the sectors. Practitioners as well. This allowed us to see how the current land-use system is affecting various stakeholders and constraining development. We also had an intergovernmental team to oversee the process, comprising key departments such as Land, the Treasury, Human Settlements, Rural Development and Environment. Our point of departure was not to reinvent the wheel but to build on what has been done over the past 10 years. We were able to direct the various stakeholders to focus on key things.

"When we got democracy, government launched into legislation immediately but didn't have an analytical framework on which the law would be based. Without this, people lose sight of what the big picture is. This is what the project aimed to achieve. We wanted agreement to be reached on a new analytical framework which proposed new roles and responsibilities - changing mandates - for some key government departments, and on which implementation of legislation could be based."

Mohamed cited further positive impacts, which were also expressed by other key informants:

"The Presidency's initiative, in partnership with Urban LandMark, provided an opportunity for key stakeholders (policy-makers, practitioners, politicians, private sector, NGOs, etc.) in the area of spatial and land management to discuss the most important issues that impede the development of the poor.

"This process initiated a series of things. For example, the National Planning Commission now has a process in place of holding a seminar on National Spatial Vision; this emanates from the Bill. The process also introduced a systematic way of engagement and reporting between the department and the inter-ministerial committee.

At this point in the process, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) started to play a greater role in supporting the drafting of the Bill, which saw Urban LandMark's role evolve to using the extensive technical input into the reformulated 'Presidency' draft Bill to comment on and inform the process of developing a further draft driven by the Department.

Towards the end of 2010, Urban LandMark was directly requested by the Presidency and the DRDLR to re-draft the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill, a process which is still ongoing.

It is clear that this project allowed Urban LandMark to engage at the highest level with influential players in the state sector, and has the potential for a deep impact in making urban land markets and governance systems work better for the poor by shifting legislation.

It is at the centre of Urban LandMark's better governance theme area, and has made a significant contribution in terms of the Programme's envisaged outputs, including:

  • Generating credible research and information on the operation of urban land markets and governance systems which inform new policy thinking on how, together, these might work better for the poor.

  • Engaging diverse players, including the state, the private sector and civil society, to deepen common understandings and to develop pragmatic approaches to making urban land markets and governance systems work better for the poor.

In addition to our current role in supporting the redrafting of the LUMB, since a significant amount of regulatory work needs to be initiated and then rolled out to the provinces and municipalities once the Bill is passed, Urban LandMark is also poised to support the development of regulations to assist provinces and municipalities in the implementation of the legislation.

According to Stephen Berrisford, Urban LandMark's inputs to the draft LUMB have been incredibly influential - both in terms of high impact and at a high level of decision-making - for informing new policy thinking to make urban land markets work better for the poor.

"The work put the urban land market question in the minds of influential people (especially in the Presidency), and people have picked up a nuanced understanding of the issues.

"Another positive outcome of this project was the cautious way in which Urban LandMark worked with its partners in government - an environment which is sometimes politically sensitive - without limiting the impact of the organisation on the outcomes of the process."