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Archive for March, 2009

The South African Council for Planners’ (SACPLAN) proposed draft rules (Planning Profession Act 36/2002), in particular the section relating to work reservation for town planners, have set the cat amongst the pigeons or more appropriately the surveyors amongst the town planners.

SACPLAN officials appear taken aback at the vociferous opposition to the draft rules by surveying professionals. Perhaps SACPLAN needs to acknowledge that the consultative phase did not get off to a good start with both the South African Geomatics Institute (SAGI) and Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) finding out about the draft rules only after they were published in the Government Gazette, 31 October 2008.

The fact that neither SAGI or CESA were advised or consulted about the process was a recipe for the resulting antagonism, especially in light of the fact that a significant portion of the draft regulations relate to reserving work exclusively for planners – this in a field where planners, surveyors and engineers often find themselves working together in multidisciplinary teams. In addition a portion of the 60-day period open for commentary fell over the festive season giving rise, not unexpectedly, to the perception that objections to the proposed work reservation for town planners were not going to be given much attention.

Following heated reaction from surveyors to the draft rules at workshops held in Durban and in Cape Town, SACPLAN chairperson Sita Mathiba started off the Gauteng workshop in Pretoria on 19 February 2009 by emphasising the need to consult with the surveyors on a one-to-one basis in order to come up with a consensus solution that would suit both parties. Mathiba added that SACPLAN had not yet heard from the engineers regarding their thoughts on the draft rules, whereupon a CESA representative, Naren Bhojaram, stood up and informed the gathering that CESA did have concerns about the draft regulations and had, in fact, sent a letter to SACPLAN in December 2008 outlining their objections.

SACPLAN’s Phekane Ramarumo pointed out that the draft rules were drawn up by her organisation as part of an initiative to regulate the planning profession and build up a register of planning professionals. There is nothing wrong with doing this and as Dudley Pound, chairperson of SAGI Northern Provinces branch, stated at the Gauteng workshop, surveyors do not take issue with SACPLAN wanting to regulate the planning profession, just with the rules pertaining to the reservation of work.

Appearing to have taken on board the vigorous criticism expressed at previous workshops, Peter Dacomb from SACPLAN emphasised that the organisation was not defending a final set of rules, and that the consultative process was ongoing. He pointed out that very few of the responses received had been of a constructive nature and made an appeal for affected parties to provide constructive suggestions.

A clear outcome of the Gauteng workshop was the expressed need for bi-lateral discussions between surveyors and land planners regarding the draft rules and specifically the work reservation clauses which have caused so much controversy. Work reservation categories need to be drawn up that are acceptable to all affected parties whether they be surveyors, engineers, or planners

 

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