What Is Township Establishment and When Must You Apply?

Township establishment is the process whereby the municipality reviews and rejects or approves the application to convert a piece of agricultural land into an area where residential, commercial, or industrial development takes place. It is a legal process. If the application is approved, then a township is proclaimed according to the relevant ordinances.


When Will You Apply for Township Establishment?

If you, for instance, want to open a holiday resort with several dwellings, swimming pools, an entertainment complex, road infrastructure and more on a piece of agricultural land then you will apply for township establishment.

The town planners, along with other professionals such as land surveyors, architects and engineers, work together. The environmental consultants need to determine the environmental impact of the particular development. The town planners also need to consider whether the piece of land is suitable for the specific type of development you have in mind.

Before you apply for township establishment, you will want to know if the piece of land is suitable for your particular development goals. To this end, the due diligence expertise of our town planners will be exceptionally beneficial. You will also want to know whether there are any protected plant or animal species on the property. If so, how can you take the necessary precautions to prevent damage, destruction of the habitat and injury to the animals (if relevant)? Once again, our town planners can help as we work with the environmental consultants with regards to the environmental impact assessment. Working with town planners from the start helps you to reduce the risk of financial losses and the rejection of your application.


The township development entails several stages including:

• Development of the concept – you identify a suitable piece of land and have an idea in mind. The town planners help you determine whether the concept is feasible on the particular piece of land.

• Preliminary assessment – the town planners work with you and various professionals such as architects, land surveyors, and accountants, etc. to determine the potential risks, income-generating potential, site changes required, and more.

• Property purchase – if you have not yet bought the property, once established that the property meets the requirements and the project is feasible, you procure the site.

• Zoning application – you need to apply for the relevant zoning. If it is a piece of agricultural land, you will have to apply for rezoning to meet the density and land use you have in mind.

• Township establishment application – before submission of the application, you will also want a feasibility analysis, environmental impact assessment, land survey of the area, development plans, and a site plan among other reports.


Township Establishment Application

Once you have the property rights the application process follows. Keep in mind that the township establishment entails an application for a rezoning and, at the same time, a sub-division to allow for the higher land use density needed. The stages in the application process are broadly outlined as:

• Initial assessment of the property and development plans to determine if the agricultural land can be developed.
• Submission of the application for township establishment.
• Initial approval.
• Obtain the requirements for establishment.
• Submission of a general plan according to the stated requirements.
• Surveyor General approval of the general plan.
• Local authority provides permission.
• A register is opened for the particular township.
• Proclamation.
• Servicing of the township.
• Local authority provides the final clearance for stands transfer (if, for instance, an estate).


Aspects to bear in mind include, but are not limited to:

• Financial costs of the feasibility studies, project development, professional fees, application, public participation processes, services and more.
• Duration of the application process and factors that can hinder the approval of your application.
• Type of development you have in mind such as resort, mixed-use development, educational facility etc.
• Available resources on the property.
• Property characteristics.
• Environmental impact potential.

Before the process can be completed you will have to submit the site development plan, pay specific fees, and submit building plans, among others. The process takes from two to three years but can take longer. Many variables affect the outcome and time frame of the township development and establishment. Get expert help right from the start. Make use of our expertise as experienced town planners in South Africa.