English: In South Africa, the government’s transformation process, which effectively started in 1994,
not only resulted in a new democracy, a new governmental dispensation or a ‘new South
Africa’, but it also spearheaded a significant, rapid and radical transformation of local
government in South Africa, as well as a radical transformation of municipal planning.
During the mid- to late 1990s, significant strides were made in South Africa by government,
planning institutions and planners to develop a new more appropriate, integrated,
developmental, democratic, strategic and sustainable development planning system
– in line with the international planning principles and the emerging focus of the new
democratic South African government.
Currently, almost two decades later, the South African municipal planning system, in spite
of various efforts and policy developments, is still struggling to adapt to, and implement
the new principles and is not addressing the development goals in all parts of the
In order to set a basis for assessing the challenges of, and gaps in the current planning
system, this article discusses the characteristics of the (new) transforming planning system
and examines some of the most important efforts being made on policy level and in
practice to promote the new principles.
This article presents an interrogation of the gaps in the planning system in an attempt to
present some propositions to address these shortcomings.