Boosting municipal and provincial planning department capacities would speed up delivery on Government’s key strategy of producing low cost and economic housing.
RealNet property group CEO Tjaart van der Walt says lack of planning capacity is universal and the private sector faces the same problems, increasingly manifesting as long lead times to new housing starts, accompanied by increased holding costs, which translate into higher prices for the end user.
“However, without diminishing the private sector’s problems, the fact is that economic forces absorb the associated stresses in that market, simply through pricing and the supply and demand mechanism.
“The problem is however more complex at the low cost end of the market - here issues of social stability, social responsibility, crime and the need for wealth creation all come into play. And if these are not addressed, they could have serious repercussions not only for home affordability but for job creation and overall economic growth.”
Van der Walt says a reliable, if somewhat crude, yardstick for addressing the problem would be to simply double the capacities of the planning departments, if not in manpower per se, then at least in terms of processes and systems.
He notes that planning bottlenecks are not unique to SA. Strong global growth accounts for similar bottlenecks in many countries. Drawing on both international and local experience therefore, some of the measures that could be considered include: