The Free State Land Use Advisory Board, formerly the Townships Board, has a rich history as one of the oldest, if not the oldest, institution of government in the Free State. The Townships Board originated as an ad hoc planning advisory board according to the Dorpserkenningen Act, 1894 (Act 6 of 1894) when a commission had to investigate any application for land development. The first Townships Board, therefore, was appointed on an ad hoc basis to investigate each township establishment (section 3 of the Act which was an act from the Orange River Colony). Further developments necessitated that it be established into a permanent board, and in 1909 in terms of the Township Act, 1909 (Act 15 of 1909) a commission was appointed to investigate all applications for township establishment (section 2 of the Act).
After South Africa became a Union, the Acts made way for Ordinances and this culminated in the first official Townships Board that was established in terms of sections 3 to 14 of the Orange Free State Township and Hamlet Ordinance, 1928 (Ordinance 6 of 1928). The next legislation was the Orange Free State Townships Ordinance, 1947 (Ordinance 20 of 1947) and this resulted in the still used Free State Townships Ordinance, 1969 (Ordinance 9 of 1969). In this latter ordinance the Townships Board is specifically instituted as a board to advise the MEC regarding all land use matters.
The Land Use Advisory Board is an independent tribunal that also serves as a quasi-judicial body. The main function of the Land Use Advisory Board is to consider all land use and land development matters and then to make recommendations to the MEC in this regard. The name change from Township Board to Land Use Advisory board was brought about with a view to accommodating the broad and developmental function of the Board. The name Townships Board is actually a misnomer as the connotation can be that this is a board that functions in townships; and in South Africa the word township has a certain political connotation that refers to mainly residential area for black people. In fact, a township is only a town. In a commercial environment, the name Townships Board appear irrelevant as it seems to refer to one sector of the town and not inclusive of developments that take place in the commercial sections of the town, where actually most developments take place.
The new name was published in the Provincial Gazette in February 2011 following legal requirements for a name to be made official. The name change was made for strategic reasons – for it to reflect the work of the board specifically and for inclusiveness, moving away from the racial connotations the previous name had. The functions of the Land Use Advisory Board have been extended to planning and development of municipalities. The spatial planning and development of municipalities have been identified as a burning issue and when these issues are neglected they affect the entire community as development does not take place, hampering any social development planned by government.
The work of the Free State Land Use Advisory Board
The Board strives to create integrated planning, happy communities and developments geared at creating sustainable work that will benefit the public. A committee will be established to which all applications are submitted and then screening takes place with the applicants and defects are addressed immediately. This committee, comprising senior officials from the Spatial Planning and chaired by the Chairperson of the Board, will meet every fortnight. For efficiency and quick resolution of issues, consultants would be advised to be accompanied by their clients to this committee so that all pertinent requirements can be settled. This committee facilitates transparency and will deal only with the requirements and not with the merits of the cases.
The Chairperson of the Board will establish strong collaborative relationships at a senior level with municipalities and with sector departments such as Eskom, Department of Police Roads and Transport, and Telkom, etc. as this will ensure better communication and quicker comments. Working relations and coordination with all sector departments by the Office of the Chairperson is being established so that quicker responses can be obtained, and that matters arising, even after the Board has completed its functions can be resolved. The board will also monitor developments on matters that have been approved.
Constitution of the FS Land Use Advisory Board
The Land Use advisory Board is constituted of the following officials:
Mr. Thabo Mongake: Chairperson
Ms. Palesa Kaota: Deputy Chairperson
- Mr. France Mokoena
- Ms. Matshidiso Modise
- Mr. Bafana Mthembu
- Mr. Boom Prinsloo
- Mr. Tiisetso Makhele: representing SALGA
- Mr. Motsamai Mofokeng
- Representative of the Department of Tourism and Environmental Affairs
Ex officio members
- Ms. Carlise Strydom: Registrar of Deeds
- Ms. Rose Mdubeki: Surveyor General
- Mr. Willie Naude: Department of Police, Roads and Transport
- Dr. Henning Stapelberg: Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
The Free State Land Use Advisory Board Offices
Tel: (051) 407 6841
Fax: (051) 407 6852
Chief of Secretariat
Ms. Sarie van Heerden
Tel: (051) 4076857
Fax: (051) 4076852