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​The Strategic Spatial Planning Branch (previously referred to as Framework Planning) is located within the eThekwini Municipality’s Development Planning Department.  The primary role of this branch is to lead, manage and direct sustainable urban growth and spatial transformation through the preparation of short, medium and long term spatial plans.

The Strategic Spatial Planning Branch (SSPB) seeks to promote adherence to a single integrated spatial planning and land use management system that gives effect to social and economic upliftment, spatial integration, spatial transformation, economic vitality, environmental integrity, sustainability and resilience that responds to the needs of citizens and inspires confidence for long term public and private sector investment. 

The SSPB falls under the Deputy Head for Development Planning as per the organogram below: 

Core Functions

CoreFunction.jpg ​The Branch which is located within the Development Planning Department plays a pivotal role in the Unit’s function, which is to lead, direct and manage the spatial, built and natural environment to ensure sustainable and integrated growth and development of our Municipality.

The Branch performs the following functions:
  • The preparation and review of the Municipal Spatial Development Framework (MSDF)​ and city wide spatial priorities.
  • The preparation and review of a series of lower order Integrated Spatial Plans (Local Areas Plans, Functional Area Plans, Precinct Plans and Draft Schemes) aimed at translating the strategic intent of the Integrated Development Plan and MSDF.
  • The preparation of special plans and strategies aimed at managing more efficient, equitable, resilient and integrated urban & rural development, such as the City Densification Strategy, Rural Development Strategy, Transit Oriented Development and Public Transport Corridor Plans, Urban Renewal.
  • Playing a central role in revitalising former townships and urban nodes through the preparation of Urban Regeneration and Revitalisation Plans.
  • Plays a pivotal role in integrating and informing the respective sector plans and the long term spatial plans of the City.
  • Plays an advocacy & advisory role to national, provincial and city wide initiatives and public and private sector development.
  • Undertakes Stakeholder and Community Engagement on short, medium and long term spatial plans.

Relevant Legislation & Policies

Legislation and Policy

A. National Legislation
I. Municipal Systems Act No 32 of 2000
The Municipal Systems Act​ sets out legislation that enables municipalities to uplift their communities by ensuring access to essential services. The Act defines the legal nature of a municipality as including the community and clarifies the executive and legislative powers of municipalities.
II. Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act No 16 of 2013 (SPLUMA)
The purpose of Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act is to provide a framework for  spatial planning and land use management; to specify the relationship between the spatial planning and the land use management system and other kinds of planning; to provide for the inclusive, developmental, equitable and efficient spatial planning at the different spheres of government; to provide a framework for the monitoring, coordination and review of the spatial planning and land use management system; to provide a framework for policies, principles, norms and standards for spatial development planning and land use management; to address past spatial and regulatory imbalances; to promote greater consistency and uniformity in the application procedures and decision-making by authorities responsible for land use decisions and development applications; to provide for the establishment, functions and operations of Municipal Planning Tribunals; to provide for the facilitation and enforcement of land use and development measures.
III. New Urban Agenda (20 October 2016)
The New Urban Agenda was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, on 20 October 2016. The New Urban Agenda contributes to the implementation and localization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in an integrated manner, and to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets. The most relevant is SDG 11, which aims to ‘’make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.’’
IV. National Development Plan (NDP, 2011)
The National Development Plan proposes to create 11 million jobs by 2030. The plan sets out six interlinked priorities;
a) Uniting all South Africans around a common programme to achieve prosperity and equity.
b) Promoting active citizenry to strengthen development, democracy and accountability.
c) Bringing about faster economic growth, higher investment and greater labour absorption.
d) Focusing on key capabilities of people and the state.
e) Building a capable and developmental state.
f) Encouraging strong leadership throughout society to work together to solve problems
The IUDF is a policy initiative of government co-ordinated by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). It sets a policy framework to guide development of inclusive, resilient, and liveable urban settlements while addressing the unique concept and challenges facing SA cities. It advocates the effective management of urbanisation so that the increasing concentration of an economically active population translates into higher levels of economic activity, greater productivity and higher rates of growth, thereby transforming our cities into engines of growth.
B. Provincial Legislation 
a) ​Be the primary growth and development strategy for KwaZulu-Natal to 2030;
​Mobilise and synchronise strategic plans and investment priorities in all spheres of government,     state owned entities, business, higher education institutions, labour, civil society and all other social partners in order to achieve the desired growth and development goals, objectives and outcomes;
​Spatially contextualise and prioritise interventions in the province so as to achieve greater spatial equity;
​Develop clearly defined institutional arrangements that ensure decisive leadership, robust management, thorough implementation and ongoing review of the growth and development plan.
C. Municipal Legislation 
To provide for the Municipal Spatial Development Framework and the land use scheme of the Municipality; to provide for the development of the package of plans; to regulate and manage spatial and land use planning and development; to provide for the categorisation of land development applications; to provide for processes and procedures for land development applications; to provide for compliance with the land use scheme; to provide for an Appeal Authority; to provide for offences and penalties and to provide for matters incidental thereto.
The eThekwini Municipality has embarked on a process to develop a Long Term Development Framework (LTDF) and Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the City. The LTDF maps the strategic vision and developmental challenges for the eThekwini Municipality over the next twenty years and within this the strategic priorities over the next five years. 
The IDP will similarly have a 5 year time scale but will contain detailed management plans for the city (including programmes, projects, budgets and performance indicators). The influence of the global, national and provincial and municipal strategies in developing the 2017-2018 IDP has been aligned to the municipalities 6 strategic priorities areas. These areas are;
  • creating sustainable livelihoods
  • a socially cohesive city
  • a financially sustainable city
  • a safer city
  • an accessible city
  • an environmentally sustainable city

Current Planning Approach in the eThekwini Municipality 

 The eThekwini Municipality has developed a comprehensive land use management system for the entire Municipal area to give effect to the requirements of Section 26 of the Municipal Systems Act (2000) and SPLUMA (No. 13 of 2016). A key aspect of this system is the preparation of a “Planning and Development Management Toolbox” which includes a Package of Plans as outlined in Section 11 of the Ethekwini Municipality Planning and Land Use Management By-laws, 2016 that shall inform the social, economic, environmental and infrastructural development in the Municipality.


This Package of Plans is an integrated and iterative process and shows the move from Municipality wide strategic level plans to detailed local level plans and land-use schemes as shown in the diagramme below. It is important therefore to consider the entire Package of Plans as part of the IDP / SDF as, together, this communicates the strategic intent through to the detailed land use guidelines as required in terms of the Municipal Systems Act. A list of the Council Approved Plans as well as the Plans in Progress are attached at Annexure 7 of this report and can be downloaded from the municipal website: https://bit.ly/2mv29o2

Package of Plans.jpg

Figure 1: Revised Package of Plans

(1) The Long Term Development Framework (LTDF) provides a long term vision for the Municipality to achieve strategic, economic, social and environmental objectives and informs its strategic development direction, strategies and associated action in the long term (between 20-50 years).

(2) The Integrated Development Plan (IDP) is the principal strategic planning instrument which guides and informs all planning, budgeting, management and decision-making processes in a municipality. It focusses on challenges, priorities and related budgets and provides for the strategic implementation direction in the short to medium term (0-5 years reviewed annually).  While MSDFs along with sector plans are integral to a complete IDP, it should be noted that MSDFs are also integrative instruments of municipal management. In this commonality some confusion has arisen regarding the respective roles and content of MSDFs and IDPs. The essential distinction lies in the focus of MSDFs on spatial considerations while IDPs deal with the full scope of municipal management including budgeting, institutional resourcing, etc. An SDF has a longer time horizon than an IDP and therefore the SDF provides the long-term spatial context for the IDP. The MSDF is more than the spatial representation of the sector plans of the IDP, as it sets out the Municipal spatial strategy.

(3) The Municipal Spatial Development Framework (MSDF) is a framework that seeks to guide the overall spatial distribution of current and desirable land uses within a municipality in order to give effect to the vision, goals and objectives of the municipal IDP.  The MSDF also provides for the strategic spatial development objectives of the Municipality in the short (0-5), medium (5-10) and long term (10-20+yr), reviewed annually, based on the Long Term Development Framework and IDP and–

a)      aligns the Municipality’s spatial development principles goals, strategies and policies with relevant national and provincial spatial principles, goals, strategies and policies;

b)      provides a long-term vision of the desired spatial form and spatial structure of the Municipality;

c)       guides the short, medium and long term proposals contained in the more detailed Spatial Development Plans, Local Areas Plans, Precinct Plans, Special Projects and Schemes.

d)      assists in the spatial coordination, prioritisation and alignment of public investment in terms of the IDP and across all spheres of governance;

e)      identifies the areas with development opportunities, areas not suitable for development and areas where the impacts of development need to be managed; 

f)       provides policy guidance to direct decision making on the nature, form, scale and location of urban and rural development, land use change, infrastructure development, social facilities, disaster mitigation and environmental resource protection; and

g)      promotes public good.

h)      Develop a capital investment framework that articulates how the spatial proposals are to be achieved sequentially, with attention to what key interventions need to take place, where they need to occur and by whom. This framework must spatially depict the development budgeting priorities and programs for the municipality through containing the following elements

i)        The identification of key spatial priorities that will assist in fast tracking and achieving the MSDF proposals that are linked to areas where shortened land use development procedures may be applicable and endorsed by the municipal engineering department based on infrastructure capacity.

j)        The designation of areas where more detailed local plans must be developed through the identification of required precinct plans.

k)      Stipulation of implementation requirements with regards to roles, responsibilities & timeframes.

l)        Stipulation of the required institutional arrangements together with possible private, public and intergovernmental collaborations / partnerships


(4) The Spatial Development Plan (SDP) is used to consolidate, review and update information [related to Sector Plans etc.] for specific spatial planning regions. It translates the Spatial Development intentions of the MSDF into Land Use, Transport, Environmental and Infrastructure implications. The outcomes of this plan inform the MSDF with more realistic goals and recommendations and provides broad based Land Use Directives to guide Local Area Planning, Land Use Guidelines and Schemes, Bulk Infrastructure and Transportation Planning Directives for the Municipality.

(5) The Local Area Plan (LAP) is a detailed physical plan. LAPs are informed by the recommendations of both the Municipal IDP and SDF [by extension, any relevant SDP] by translating the intentions of these broader plans into a greater level of detail and thereby informing the preparation of a future Land Use Management Scheme for the Municipality. LAPs are based on specific geographical areas [such as towns and suburbs as defined in the SDP] and aims to undertake: a comprehensive analysis of the study area; identify and define the role of the study area; the qualification and quantification of SDF/SDP proposals to create priority projects; preparation of intervention strategies; provision of a planning framework and associated LUMS Guidelines.

(6) The primary mandate and focus of Precinct Plans is to ensure the implementation of broader strategic spatial objectives (as reflected in the MSDFs) at the local level. These plans thus serve as a means for the planning system to incentivise development in a way that meets a whole range of locally specific policy objectives while ensuring for “on the ground” manifestation and implementation of these spatial objectives. A Precinct Plan therefore provides a detailed framework for coordinating and informing both public and private investment as well as directing the physical development and management of all initiatives to create a well-integrated, resilient, accessible, safe and attractive environment for residents, visitors, tourists and investors. Areas with special environmental, economic and heritage characteristics; Urban and Rural CBD / Nodal Plans; Urban Corridor Plans; Urban Renewal Plans; and Township / Urban Regeneration Plans are all types of a Precinct Plan.  They contain detailed urban design directives or proposals; and include implementation proposals to optimise the use of existing resources [including land and infrastructure] to encourage densification, intensification, protect heritage and promote the diversification of land uses within a specific area.

A Precinct Plan therefore:

a) Indicates the desired patterns of land use within the precinct and sets out basic guidelines for implementation

b) Identifies programmes, projects and restructuring elements for the development of land within the precinct

c) Sets out a clear implementation plan and the associated anticipated costs

d) Identifies where public investment should be prioritised while also identifying private sector investment


(7) Special Projects provides for the preparation of spatial policy, strategies, plans and guidelines relating to a specific geographic area or theme and may include the City Densification Strategy, Rural Development Strategy, Transit Oriented Development Strategies or Climate Resilience Strategies for Spatial and Land Use Plans etc 


(8) The Built Environment Performance Plan (BEPP) has become a key component of the municipal package of plans. Annually the City is required to articulate its investment rationale and institutional arrangements to address spatial transformation and integration of the relevant line departments.  The BEPP is not a standalone document and builds on the strategic principles and targets established in the IDP and SDF.


(9) Rural Settlement Plans, whilst not compulsory, assist with the testing and revision of a Wall-to-Wall Scheme. A Rural Settlement Plan is not cadastrally based but gives guidance to current and proposed land uses, access and the provision of bulk services. It acts to guide and facilitate orderly development. These plans need to consider: transportation, environmental, economic, social, agricultural and geotechnical requirements as well as access to bulk infrastructure. In developing the plan indigenous knowledge and practice needs to be considered as these areas fall under Ingonyama Trust Land and are administered by Traditional Councils and the Ingonyama Trust Board. In addition, a Rural Settlement Plan and / or Rural Layout Plan must reinforce the prerequisites of a Scheme having regard to minimum lot size, pan-handle width etc. and bear in mind projected development densities as well as the Guidelines for Human Settlement Planning and Design [CSIR].


(10) Land Use Schemes

 Land Use Schemes form part of a comprehensive land use system (LUS) that gives effect to the requirements of Section 26 of the Municipal Systems Act 2000 and Plan 1 of the Integrated Development Plan. The preparation of Land Use Schemes is a statutory requirement established in terms of the eThekwini Municipality: Planning and Land Use Management By-law 2016, and framed against the Spatial Land Use Management Act, Act No. 16 of 2013 (SPLUMA).

 A Land Use Management Scheme, more commonly known as Planning Schemes, is a statutory planning document together with an associated set of maps used to manage and promote development within a municipal area. A land use scheme is a critical component of the integrated spatial planning system and deals the details of the land use zoning and built form controls. The intent embodied within the Package of Plans as discussed above, is translated into the most appropriate development control zones and land uses within the schemes.

 Schemes enable statutory decisions to be made and this in turn allows building plans to be considered. Schemes are required by law to be reviewed on an annual basis in line with the IDP and SDF reviews.

 Land Use Schemes are planning tools used to deliver quality environments. This results in integrated responses which allows for the establishment and creation of robust and vibrant environments; while at the same time contributing to sustainable environments. Schemes place emphasis on environmental issues, infrastructural capacities and equally on the impact of development. Schemes also provide a mechanism for effective protection of ecosystem services through the creation of specialized environmental land use zones.

 All of the above plans are decision-making tools used by the Municipality to:

·         facilitate effective and efficient use of scarce land resources.

·         facilitate decision making regarding the location of service delivery projects.

·         guide public and private sector investment. 

·         strengthen democracy, inclusivity, resilience and spatial transformation

·         promote intergovernmental coordination on spatial issues.

·         serve as a framework for the development of lower order plans and Scheme and as the basis for land development decisions

·         guide and inform the spatial location of municipal infrastructure investment and spatial priorities;

·         provide visual representation of the desired urban form of the municipality in the short, medium and long term.

·         define and facilitate a progressive move towards the attainment of an agreed upon desired spatial form within the municipality’s area of jurisdiction.

 At a strategic level, this SDF review aims to provide evidence of SPLUMA compliance as well as complying with all other applicable policies and legislation as referenced in this chapter.   


Draft SDF 2020/2021 In progress
Northern Rural Settlement Plan In progress

​​​ ​
City Wide               
Rural Development Strategy May 2016
City Densification Strategy June 2013
Municipal Spatial Development Frameworks (SDF's):

SDF 2020/2021

SDF 2019/2020

SDF 2018/2019

SDF 2017/2018​

SDF 2016/2017​

SDF 2015/2016

SDF 2014/2015

SDF 2013/2014

SDF 2012/2013


May 2019


May 2018



May 2017



May 2016


May 2015



May 2014


May 2013


June 2012



Spatial Development Plans (SDP's):

January 2014​​
Industrial Spatial Strategy:

August 2009
​​ ​
North Spatial Planning Region​  
​Cornubia Framework Plan

May 2011​​​
Greater Inanda LAP - Consolidated Report February 2020​
Inyaninga and Tongaat Functional Area Plans and Scheme Recommendations March2013 ​March 2013​
Identification of Pilot Projects within the Northern Public Trabnsport Corridor​ November 2017​
KwaMashu A Regeneration Plan:

August 2015
Northern Public Transport and Integrated Land Use Corridor Phases 1 - 6​ March 2013​
Northern Urban Development Corridor (NUDC) including 3 LAP’s (Tongaat Dube Trade Port, Verulam / Cornubia,  INK/ Phoenix):

March 2012​
NPTC Phase 1​ May 2010​
Ohlanga Tongati  Local Area Plan – M4 La Mercy to Watson Highway Built Form Visualisation Study
April 2009​
Ohlanga Tongati  Local Area Plan & Coastal Management Plan December 2007/Revised September 2008 & Feb 2010​
May 2008
Verulam CBD Precinct Plan
January 2010
Watson North Greylands & FAP Scheme​ September 2016​
​​ ​
South Spatial Planning Region ​​
Adams / Folweni LAP ​May 2012
Amanzimtoti CBD Regeneration Study ​November 2011
Back of Port Concept, Framework Precinct Plans & Zoning reports ​October 2014​
Back of Port Interface LAP ​June 2012
Cragieburn Precinct Plan/ Functional Area Plan September 2011​
Illovo Bekhulwandle LAP ​May 2010 ​​
Illovo South LAP February 2014​
Isipingo Urban Design Framework Consolidated Report Final Draft October 2019​
R603 Adams Settlement Plan Consolidated Report 30-08-19 October 2019​
Isipingo Local Area Plan, Functional Area Plan and Scheme   (including the Reunion Rezoning and property transaction process)
​January 2016
Nsimbini-Golokodo Draft Scheme - Consolidated Report September 2018​
Nsimbini Rural Functional Area Plan​ ​April 2013​
South Public Transport Corridor Study:
  Densification Framework
  Clairwood TOD BusinessPlan
  King Edward Precinct Business Plan
  Umlazi Accommodation Business Plan
  Umlazi Housing Project Concept

October 2014​

Umkomazi Local Area Plan
November 2010
Umlazi Malukazi LAP and Township Regeneration Plan
February 2011
Umlazi Nodal Regeneration Study​
​June 2009
Ward 105 LAP, FAP & Draft Scheme: ​
Final Consolidated Report
LAP - Phase 8. Close Out Report 

September 2018​
​ ​
Central Spatial Planning Region​  
Central Densification & Implementation Plan:
Bonela Densification Pilot- Business Plan Final
eThekwini Central Densification Executive Summary Report
Phase 3A Implementation Framework
Pinetown Densification Pilot- Business Plan
Westcliff Densification Pilot- Business Plan

September 2018
Clermont KwaDabeka Regeneration Project ​October 2010
Inner City Local Area Plan and Regeneration Plan November 2016​
Pinetown CBD Node Precinct Plan ​October 2009​
Pinetown South LAP rev November 2015
​​ ​
Outer West Spatial Planning Region  
Cato Ridge LAP Final Consolidated Report September 2018​
Greater Waterfall FAP - Consolidated Report September 2018​
Hillcrest Gillits Kloof Land Use Management Plan ​July 2010​​
Molweni Nodal Precinct Plan May 2012
Mpumalanga LAP September 2014
Mpumulanga Northern FAP & Draft Scheme:
Corridor Plan
FAP Draft Scheme Report
Functional Area Plan

October 2018​
​Outer West Development Corridor Study & Cato Ridge LAP​ May 2012​
Shongweni LAP October 2010


Contact Us

Telephone Details
Phone: 031 311-7450
Fax: 031 311-7279
Email: nangamso.majiba@durban.gov.za
​​Physical Address
City Engineers & Planning and
Development Building
166 KE Masinga (Old Fort) Road
Durban 4001
Second Floor – Room 226
Postal Address
Development Planning Environment
and Management Unit
P.O Box 680
Business Hours
Monday - Friday
Enquiries: 8:00 - 12:30
Weekends: Closed
Public Holidays: Closed​
Locality Map of SSPB offices