Poor planning: David Makhura cracks the whip

2015-04-07 15:00

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Johannesburg - There has been a collapse in government planning, says Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who is determined to speed up the process in order to encourage development in the province.

“We have had a virtual collapse of planning. What we call planning in our system of government is not planning at all,” he said at the launch of the province’s “Mega Projects” proposal for housing today.

“We have allowed planning to collapse. The things we often spend time on saying ‘it’s planning’, it’s not planning,” said Makhura.

Municipalities think they are planning, but “they are just wasting time”.

“Time wasted is money lost, and it is opportunity lost.”

» Development approvals in three months

In a hard-hitting speech he said: “Planning can’t be ‘but no we will come back to you’.”

People never know what is happening with their applications for development and projects, and may decide to move it to another province.

“We have now taken a decision that you will get development approvals within three months,” he said to applause from delegates from government and the private sector at launch of the project at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg.

He said planning was not about satisfying bureaucrats or pleasing lobbyists.

“Planning is first and foremost about helping to design a vision of where we want to go.”

In addition, he declared Reconstruction and Development (RDP), a thing of the “old way”.

“What are RDP houses? Bad. One house here, one house there, no trees. No proper infrastructure, no integration as we would like it to be,” he said.

» Land invasions

The provincial government was strongly opposed to any land invasions, saying it needed every space it could find for housing and development since only “1.4% of South Africa’s land space was in Gauteng”.

Any future projects also had to include green spaces, access to transport, schools and clinics, and nobody would be allowed to just “drop 100 houses” with no supporting infrastructure.

“You put people on top of each other, you get your money, but there is no space around them.”

He said municipalities had also let private sector developers “get away with murder”.

“Yes, they have not been responsive to you, and I join you condemning them,” he said.

But, he said there were developments where people had built without approval and parts of shopping centres had collapsed when people were visiting them assuming they were safe.

“You are getting away with doing things that you are not supposed to do.”

» Mega projects

Government departments and bureaucrats “just sit” and “sometimes want a bribe”.

“That must stop,” said Makhura.

“We must go back to the old city planning model.”

He wanted to see inclusive developments in Gauteng’s five “development corridors” – Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, City of Johannesburg, Sedibeng and the West Rand and wanted to keep development in the province.

“That is why we are talking about mega projects and creating a scale of a new economic node.”

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