Know the Zoning of your Property

The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, 2013 (Act 16 of 2013), (the Act), came into operation on 1 July 2015. In order to give effect to the Act, municipalities must adopt land use schemes and by-laws to regulate zoning of land and procedures for land use management in their municipal areas.

It is important for property developers, business owners and property owners to take note of the imminent changes in land use management and the implications thereof.

These implications and changes include the following:

  1. New procedures will apply in respect of applications for the rezoning of property, consent uses or departures from the existing zoning scheme or, once adopted, a new land use scheme. New appeal procedures will also apply in respect of appeals.
  1. Municipalities must embark on public participation processes in the development of their new land use schemes before they replace existing zoning schemes. It will be important for property and business owners to take note when draft land use schemes are published for comment, as it may propose changes to zoning of land that may affect property rights. It will be important for property owners to submit comments, if their rights will be affected.
  1. A land use scheme must allocate a zoning or zoning category to each property in the municipal area. The zoning of a property determines the primary use and other ancillary uses that the property may be utilised for. The zoning also determines the restrictions or parameters within which the applicable use rights may be exercised or if the consent of the municipality is required for the use.
  1. It is an offence to utilise land in a manner other than prescribed by an applicable zoning scheme or land use scheme. It is therefore important for property owners, business owners and prospective property purchasers to understand what their property may lawfully be utilised for and the restrictions and parameters within which the applicable use rights may be exercised.

We recommend that prospective purchasers consult an attorney, who specialises in Property Law, to advise them regarding the zoning, restrictions in terms of the zoning or land use scheme, restrictive title conditions and servitudes applicable to the relevant property.

At Goldberg & de Villiers Inc, the Directors in our Property Law Department, namely Adri Ludorf, Tracey Watson-Gill and Nicolas Mitchell, assisted by Bardine Hall and a team of highly-qualified paralegals, will gladly assist you with any of your Property Law-related needs or, if assistance is required, to preparecomments for submission to a municipality on a draft land use scheme that may affect the zoning of your property.

DIRECTORS, MANAGERS – YOUR NEW RISK OF “CARTEL CONDUCT” CRIMINAL LIABILITY IS EVEN WIDER THAN REPORTED

“A cartel involves an agreement or concerted practice between two or more competitors to engage in fixing prices and/or trading conditions,  dividing markets and/or collusive tendering.   By artificially limiting competition that would normally prevail between them,  firms avoid exactly the kind of pressures that lead them to innovate, both in terms of product development and production methods. This results ultimately in high prices and reduced consumer choice. ” (Competition Commission)

Government’s determination to crack down on cartel conduct is evidenced in the newly-introduced criminal liabilities imposed on individuals by amendments to the Competition Act.   Offending businesses already face substantial penalties,  and now any director or manager of a business guilty of causing or permitting it to engage in a “prohibited practice” is also personally liable to prosecution,  risking heavy fines (up to R500,000) and/or imprisonment (up to 10 years).

A “prohibited practice” here means “directly or indirectly fixing a purchase or selling price or any other trading condition”,  “dividing markets by allocating customers, suppliers, territories,  or specific types of goods or services”, or “collusive tendering”.

Legal commentators are suggesting that even more severe sanctions (possible life imprisonment, blacklisting from public tenders etc)  imposed by separate anti-corruption legislation could also come into play.

Don’t forget also that these penalties for directors and managers personally are in addition to the existing and substantial penalties already faced by the businesses themselves.

Don’t take any chances here –  get advice before embarking on any course of conduct which might be regarded as falling foul of these provisions.

Contact our professional legal team on 041 501 9800.