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Monday Apr 30, 2012

Cape Town wants state land to be 'unlocked'

The National Planning Commission (NPC) is worried about local municipalities' inability to unlock land for development and the slow pace of approving development applications.

The City of Cape Town has put together a register of available land for developments, said Mayor Patricia de Lille.

Last year the city said it needed about 4 000 hectares of land for housing, and would have to pay about R2 billion for state-owned land which some national departments have refused to release or "unlock" for close to two decades.

An official said 15 years of negotiations with the Department of Defence and Military Veterans to release the Wingfield land had amounted to nothing.

Speaking at the recent launch of the province's Economic Development Partnership (EDP), NPC commissioner Dr Miriam Altman said this was one of the main concerns when it came to economic development and job creation at a local level.

Altman told the EDP that the "pace of property developments approved by municipalities" needed to be sped up if SA was to reach its targets.

"We also need to unlock land for various developments," said Altman.

De Lille said an "asset register" with available land for development would be ready by next month and the council would welcome development proposals.

On the issue of land, Premier Helen Zille said the national Department of Public Works was holding up service delivery by not releasing land for development.

She said the Grabouw school crisis was an example of how much-needed land was being held up due to bureaucracy.

Cape Times

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