Planning Profession Bill: finalisation

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


26 June 2002

Chairperson: Rev P Moatshe (ANC)

Documents handed out:

Planning Professions Bill [B76-2001]
Amendments to Bill as passed by the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs
Planning Profession Bill Presentation
Narrative on the Planning Profession Bill (see Appendix)

The Department of Land Affairs briefed the Committee on the background and contents of the Planning Profession Bill. The discussion focused on questions of practical strategies to be employed to realise the provisions of the Bill. The Bill was accepted, subject to two amendments.

The Deputy Director General (DDG) of the Department of Land Affairs, Dr Makgalemele, presented the background and contents of the Planning Profession. She started off by indicating that the Planning Profession is presently regulated by the Town and Regional Planners Act, 19 of 1984 and highlighted some of the provisions of the Act. She then explained why the Town and Regional Planners Act needed to be repealed before the Bill can be enacted.

The present Act limits access to the planning profession, with black South Africans comprising only 3.5% of registered planners, and only historically advantaged tertiary institutions could award qualifications in planning. Moreover, the present Act does not provide room for career mobility and its ethical standards are based on an apartheid ideology. She then listed some key changes that were introduced by the Bill, and concluded her presentation by summarising the Bills provisions as set out in Chapters 1 to 7.

Mr V Windvoel (ANC) [Mpumalanga] was concerned about the 3.5%, and asked if the Department had plans, such as bursaries, to redress the racial inequalities in the planning profession. He viewed the discrepancy as a development issue that needed serious intervention.

Dr Makgalemele agreed that the discrepancies were stark, and expressed hope that when the Bill is enacted, people who were previously excluded by the principal Act would now be registered. This would then increase the proportion of black South Africans in the profession. She added that if there was no significant change in the proportion of black people, the government would have to intervene.

Mr Windvoel indicated that the Bill cited the Mental Health Care Act of 1973, yet this Act was recently amended. The Department was not aware of the new Mental Health Care Bill. Later it was proposed and agreed that the Planning Profession Bill would be amended in this regard.

Mr Windvoel referred to Section 5(1)(h) of the Bill and suggested that the phrase "political representative" be replaced with "public representative". He argued that the word "political" subtly implied party politics whereas the word "public" indicated neutrality in serving the community.

Mr R Nyakane (UDM) [Northern Province] later presented the same argument.

Mr Brocker: Director, Legal Services in the Department, explained that the problem with including the world "public" is that there are many public institutions or entities with no political or governmental affiliation. The word "political" only implied democratically elected people who would be rendering the services in the Planning Profession Council.

It was later agreed that the clause would be amended by the Department.

Mr M Sulliman (ANC) [Northern Cape] expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that the Department did not document in detail the people that were consulted in the drafting process of the Bill, nor were their views captured.

Prof Du Toit: Deputy Minister, explained that there was such participation, especially with respect to the controversial Clause 13, as the Department was required by the National Assembly to consult broadly. He added that the Bill was just a framework and that there would still be a need for supporting legislation that requires the participation of both Parliament and public. He concluded by pointing out the fact that the Department had inherited apartheid planning and that it would be a mammoth task to redress and overhaul that system.

Ms B Thompson (ANC) [Kwazulu-Natal] wanted to know how members of the community would be elected to the Council as provided in Chapter 2 of the Bill.

Dr Makgalemele explained that nominations and elections would be done in a democratic way.

Mr Brocker added that anyone in the community was eligible for nomination, subject to the provisions of the Bill.

Mr Sulliman asked whether the Committee would have a role in the process of constituting the Council.

Prof Du Toit explained that only the Minister of Land (the Minister) was accountable for that and, referred Mr Sulliman to Clause 4 of the Bill.

Ms Thompson and Ms B Dlulane (ANC) [Eastern Cape] were not satisfied with this answer.

Mr Sulliman interjected and explained that he understood Prof Du Toit's response. He suggested that the role of parliamentary committees should be the same in all Departments. It does seem that some Committees have greater powers than others do in some matters.

The Chair stated that the Bill had been interrogated intensively and that it would be taken to the Portfolio Committee. He read the Motion of Desirability to accept the Bill, subject to the proposed amendment in Clauses 5(1)(c) and (h) and Clauses 13(7)(b).

The meeting was adjourned.

1. Current Legal Environment for the Regulation of the Town and Regional Planners' Profession.
1.1 The Town and Regional Planners Act (Act No. 19 of 1984) currently regulates the admission into and the practice of the town and regional planning profession in the Republic of South Africa. Since the enactment of this Act in 1984 it has been amended six (6) times by Parliament, the last amendment being made in 1996. The amendments to the Act did not effect any major policy shift from the original position adopted in the original text.

1.2 The government Department responsible for the regulation of the Town and Regional Planners Act (Act No.19 of 1984) (hereinafter referred to as the "1984 Act") is the Department of Land Affairs1.

1.3 The 1984 Act mainly regulates the Town and Regional Planning profession through the followings:

1.3.1 The establishment of a South African Council for Town and Regional Planners (SACTRP) as a juristic person2.

1.3.2 The composition of the SACTRP3, appointed by the Minister, on the basis of:
1.3.2.l Eight town and regional planners selected by the Minister from a list of at least 10 town and regional planners nominated by town and regional planners' professional institutes;
1 .3.2.2 Two planning lecturers nominated by the Committee of University Principals; One person in the full time employ of the State selected by the Minister; and One town and regional planning technician.
1.3.3 The Minister may, at the request of the Council and with the concurrence of the Competition Board, prescribe the kinds of work which shall be reserved for the profession4.
1.3.4 The establishment of an Education Advisory Committee5 to assist the SACTRP in the performance of its mandate in relation to education and training within the profession.
1.3.5 The creation of three categories for registration in terms of the Act. These are: Town and Regional Planners6 Town and Regional Planners in Training7; and Town and Regional Planning Technicians8.
1.3.6 The SACTRP maintains discipline within the ranks of registered persons in terms of the Act.

2. Why do we need a new Act?
The agenda pursued in the introduction of a new Bill to regulate the profession of Planning addresses four major concerns. These are:

2.1 Access to the Profession
The legacy of Apartheid in ensuring that the greater majority of the people in this country were denied access to major professions by limiting access to meaningful education has resulted in an unbalanced mix in the town and regional planning professions. The SACTRP retains control over the institutional providers of education (by the regulation of which educational institution is recognised for the purpose of the profession).

Consequently, no historically black institution is recognised to offer approved planning course. The only institutions recognised by SACTRP to offer courses leading to registration as town and regional planners are:

(i) University of Cape Town;
(ii) University of the Free State;
(iii) University of Natal;
(iv) University of Potchefstroom;
(v) University of Pretoria;
(vi) University of Stellenbosch; and
(vii) University of the Witwatersrand.

Approved courses leading to registration into the category of town and regional planning technicians are offered at:
(i)Cape Technikon;
(ii)ML Sultan Technikon; and
(iii)Wits Technikon

Progression within the Profession

The creation of three categories of planners by the 1984 Act perpetuates a system of dichotomy between the Town and Regional Planners and Town and Regional Planning Technicians with the result that no formal framework exists for progression within the ranks of registered persons.

From an educational perspective, whilst it is accepted that the nature and focus of education and training at universities differs from that of Technikons, the practice and realities of post qualification experience needs to offer opportunities for progression in deserving cases. With the developments in the educational sphere, especially the concepts of Recognition of Prior Learning and National Qualifications Frameworks, parameters need to be instituted for progression within the ranks of registered persons.

In practice, individuals from the more vocational inclined programmes (Technikons) fell in the planning technician category while university graduates ended up as town and regional planners. This created captive categories'. A debate on whether such a system, in the context of our history, is just and effective has been going on for some time.

Ethical Standards

The role and functions of planners in the society has been succinctly captured in the admission of the current SACTRP that:

In South Africa, the planning discipline has been widely perceived to have been (and in many cases has been) an instrument to implement the ideology of apartheid. With the transformation of the country from an autocracy to a just democracy, it is necessary that the discipline undergo a similar change if it is to have relevance and/or legitimacy now and in the future. The actual nature of that disciplinary change should be fashioned by the existing needs of South African society and by national programmes aimed at addressing those needs. The RDP is obviously pertinent in this regard. A basic feature attaching to the principles and programmes of the RDP is the accent placed upon redressing the unacceptable conditions imposed upon the country's disadvantaged communities during the era of apartheid rule. It is now the responsibility of the planning profession to respond positively and imaginatively to the challenges posed by the RDP and society at large. This requires the formulation and acceptance of an appropriate ethical code.

In order to address the needs of South African society in general, it is submitted here that the cornerstone of the code of ethics of planners should be to further the interests of the under-privileged and disadvantaged communities. Planning actions should thus be geared toward empowering the members of these communities so that they can contribute to the advancement of the nation.

There is philosophical and practical precedent for the establishment of a moral-ethical professional stance that seeks to promote social equity and justice, and which is built on the proposition of serving the interests of disadvantaged groups. Ethics thus provides a broad moral framework, a frame of reference, for professional conduct.

Empowerment and/or capacity building implies that planning processes should be open and democratic - which in the final analysis means that such processes must facilitate the involvement of disadvantaged groups in the decision-making mechanisms that impact on their lives. Planning must accordingly seek to promote true citizen participation - always remembering however that the role of planning extends beyond the simple seeking of answers from the community to the creative use of knowledge and the application of synthetic and interpretative expertise to give form to the community's expressed wishes. When people are offered rich choices and the freedom to make these choices, true participation is promoted.9

The recognition of a need for ethical shift provides added incentive for this legal reform.

2.4 Representativity & Legitimacy
The current institutional avenues for the education and training of persons as planners remain firmly located in the traditionally historical white institutions which to a large extent represents a value system not detached from those that served the apartheid ideology. Since no credible claim may be made to value-neutrality in the panning knowledge generation, production and transmission the legitimacy of the current institutional structures have (and still) been subject of serious questioning. The results of this (real and perceived) challenge include the fact that many 'qualified' persons remains unregistered with the SACTRP or the continued existence of parallel planning professional structures outside the operation of the 1984 Act.

3. Key Changes introduced by the Bill
In redressing the identified imbalances in the present system, the Bill has proposed the followings:

3.1 The Bill aims to establish mechanisms for quality control by means of mandatory

registration of all persons in the planning profession.

3.2 Shift from a narrow definition of the profession i.e. 'Town and Regional Planning' to a

broader concept of 'Planning'. Thus the short title of the Bill as "Planning Profession Bill"

rather than a "Town and Regional Planners Act". In this manner, other strands of the

planning profession are brought within the fold.

3.3 Greater access to the profession by placing emphasis on competence within the National

Qualifications Framework enacted by the South African Qualifications Authority.

3.4 It is envisaged that training and education opportunities will be widened to proactively

allow the broadening of the mix of persons in the profession. With a more inclusive and representatively Council for Planners, bursaries and scholarships will aid in achieving equity and other transformation goals.

3.5 Facilitating progression within the ranks of registered persons by ensuring that captive

categorisation is not perpetuated. The Bill proposes that registration in a category does not preclude progression into the higher category subject to a mix of academic and/or practical attainments in later years.

3.6 Creation of a more representative Council to administer the Act. In addition to the

planners serving on the Council, non-planners who are members of the communities affected or likely to be affected by planning are able to inform Council deliberations. This addresses the concerns around representativity, legitimacy and effectiveness.

3.7 The inclusion of planning profession principles in the Bill which gives recognition to the

larger public interest that planning must be beneficial to nation at large. It is expected that this will impact on planning curriculum and the ethical practice of the profession to the interest of the country.

3.8 Greater protection of the public via enhanced professional and ethical standards.

4. Details of the Bill (as contained in the Memorandum of the Objects of the Bill)

CHAPTER I: Definitions and planning profession principles Clauses 1 and 2
1.This Chapter makes provision for definitions and contains the principles for the planning

profession which will apply to all registered persons and which will guide the interpretation, administration and implementation of the Bill.

CHAPTER 2: South African Council for Planners Clauses 3 to 12
2. Clause 3 establishes the South African Council for Planners (hereinafter referred to as the

Council"). Clause 4 deals with the constitution of the Council as well as the bodies and

persons who are to nominate the members of the Council. The clause further seeks to

provide for the nomination procedures. the appointment of the chairperson, deputy-

chairperson and the members of the Council, the procedure to be followed at meetings in

the absence of the chairperson and the vice-chairperson, and the term of office of

members of the Council, 'which is four years. The filling of vacancies is also provided for

and the Minister (of Land Affairs) is empowered to extend or shorten the period of office of

members of the Council.

3. Clause 5 provides for the disqualification of persons from membership of the Council

circumstances under which a member of the Council must vacate his or her office and the

filling of vacancies. The clause also makes provision for the Minister to appoint a person to

fill any vacancy which may occur.

4. Clause 6 provides for the establishment of committees to assist the Council in the

performance of its functions or to investigate matters relating to any of its functions.

5. Clause 7 provides for the functions of the Council which include, amongst other things, the

promotion of high standard of education and training in the planning sector. sound

governance of the profession and the promotion of public interest.

6. Clause 8 provides for the:
(a) administrative duties and powers of the Council;
(b) duties and powers of the Council with regard to the registration of persons in the planning

(c) Council to determine the fees payable to it by registered persons;
(d) Council to regulate the education of the planning profession; and
(e) general duties and powers of the Council.

7. Clause 9 provides for meetings of the Council and states that a minimum of two meetings

must be held per year. It also provides for the convening of special meetings.

8. Clause 10 provides that a decision of the majority of the members of the Council present at

a meeting constitutes a decision of the Council. Clause 10 furthermore provides that a decision which is properly taken will not be invalid merely because there was a vacancy on the Council or that a person who was not entitled to sit as a member of the Council sat as a member at the time when the decision was taken or the act was authorised.

9. Clause 11 makes provision for the determination by the Minister, in concurrence with the

Minister of Finance, of the remuneration of members of the Council.

10. Clause 12 provides for the control and transparency with regard to the funds of the

Council. It also provides that the Council must report to the Minister on the financial status and the activities of the Council.

CHAPTER 3: Registration Clauses 13 to 16
11. Clause 13 makes provision for the categories in which a person can register in the

planning profession. This clause provides for matters in respect of registration of persons by the Council.

12. Clause 14 deals with the cancellation of registration.

13. Clause 15 provides for the return of registration certificates by the registered person in the

event of the cancellation of registration.

14. Clause 16 regulates the procedure, including extensive consultation, to prescribe work to

be reserved for the planning profession.

CHAPTER 4: Voluntary associations
15. Clause 17 provides for the recognition by the Council of voluntary associations that

comply with the guidelines determined by the Council.

CHAPTER 5: Professional conduct Clauses 18 to 23
16. Clause 18 provides for a code of conduct and a code of practice for the planning


17. Clauses 19 to 23 provide for the appointment of an investigating officer to investigate a

charge of improper conduct, the appointment of a disciplinary tribunal, the disciplinary hearing and the proceedings after the hearing.

CHAPTER 6: Appeals Clauses 24 to 28
18. This Chapter provides for an appeal procedure. Clause 24 provides for the establishment

of an Appeal Board, its meetings procedures and administration and the remuneration of members of the Appeal Board. Clause 27 provides that a registered person found guilty of improper conduct, a person aggrieved by a decision of the Council regarding his or her registration in terms of clause 13 or the cancellation of his or her registration in terms of clause 14 or a person objecting to a rule under certain circumstances,. may lodge an appeal with the Appeal Board.

19. Clause 28 makes provision for an appeal against a decision of the Appeal Board to the

High Court of South Africa.

CHAPTER 7: General Clauses 29 to 39
20. Clause 29 regulates the determination and payment of professional fees.

21. Clause 30 empowers the Minister to make regulations and the Council to make rules with

regard to any matter that is required or permitted to be prescribed under this Bill, and also prescribes the consultation procedure to he followed by the Minister and the Council before the publication of such regulations and rules.

22. Clause 3 1 provides for the procedure of evidence regarding matters of the planning


23. Clause 32 provides for the rectification of errors that might occur in any process that is

required to be done or performed in terms of the Bill.

24. Clause 33 prescribes the liability of the Council, its members, committees, officials and

registered persons.

25. Clause 34 provides for the delegation of powers by the Minister and the Council.

26. Clause 35 prescribes the offences and penalties in the case of a person being found guilty

of contravening any provision of the Bill.

27. Clause 36 regulates the transitional arrangement between the Town and Regional

Planners Act 1984 (Act No.19 of 1984).

28. Clause 37 provides for the repeal of the Town and Regional Planners Act, 1984 (Act

No.19 of 1984).
1Definition of 'Minister' substituted by section 1 of Amendment Act 48 of 1987, by Section 1 of
Amendment Act 20 of 1988, by section 1 (a) of Amendment Act 28 of 1993 and by section 1 of Amendment Act 3 of 1995.
2 Section 2 of the 1984 Act.
3 Section 3 of the 1984 Act.
4Section 10 of the 1984 Act. It must be noted however that the Minister has never exercised this power, with the consequence that there exists no formal designation of the kinds of work which may be undertaken on an exclusive basis by members of the profession. Significantly, this has impacted on the nature of the practical distinction between the nature of work which may be undertaken by the different categories within the profession.
5 Section 14 of the 1984 Act.
6 Section 20 of the 1984 Act.
7 Section 21 of the 1984 Act.
8Section 22 of the 1984 Act.
9Official website of the South African Council for Town and Regional Planners at


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