Overview of Zoning and Sub-Division Application Processes in South Africa

Town planning consultancies, such as The Practice Group, provide a wide range of services to the public, including assistance with zoning applications, subdivision, land reconciliation, and sectional title registration. The basics of zoning and rezoning applications are briefly discussed below, helping you to understand how town planning consultants can be of assistance with the processes.


You need to apply for rezoning of a piece of property if the usage allowances on the property do not make provision for what you want to do on the property. You will need to apply for such at your local municipality and it entails submission of supporting documents and payments of fees. Going the route on your own can be a daunting task, it is therefore recommended that you seek professional guidance from a town planner.


Zoning determines the land use rights for a particular property. If it is an agricultural property lying in a zone only allowing agricultural related activities, you cannot use it for the purpose of a commercial resort unless rezoning of the property has been done. The rezoning process entails the submission of a detailed report, which includes plans and your motivation for rezoning, the advertising of the application in the government gazette and a local paper giving the public notice of your intention and the opportunity to lodge any objections. The town planning division of the municipality considers the objections, your plans and motivations. The final approval lies with the provincial and council committees.


If you want to divide a piece of property into two or more sections, then you will have to apply for subdivision approval; each piece of property will then have a title deed. The process entails discussion of the plans with an architect and the town planning consultancy. They will then create a report and the plans which will be submitted to the relevant council. Part of the sub-division process entails the notification of your intention by means of registered letters to your neighbours, the advertisement of such intention in the local newspaper, and opportunity for objections. Once the neighbours have given permission for the sub-division, then only will the council consider the plans for approval.

It is important to note that rezoning and sub-division applications can take anything from a few months to years for approval. Keep this in mind when planning a resort, development or sub-division of your farm into smaller plots. The provisional administrations and various ordinances in place govern land use rights in South Africa. Also note that the requirements may differ from one municipality to another.

We recommend speaking to our town planners regarding any rezoning or sub-division plans to help you avoid costly pitfalls.