Town Planning


Please click on the links to these sub-pages to access their information :
NB Our website is updated when the City makes documents available, so please check regularly for the links to the information you will find useful, such as the Word document : How to access the City Planning Dept. Reports which is attached at the bottom of this page. Another  recent addition is a PDF on the Municipal Planning Tribunal.
This link is to the City's Planning Portal for all guidelines and planning documents:
Changes to the Municipal Planning By-law come into effect

The City’s Municipal Planning Amendment By-law 2019 came into effect on Monday, 3 February 2020. It regulates development and land use in Cape Town. The changes are part of the annual review process. You can read a summary of the main changes in the guideline document in the File Box for 'Municipal Planning By-Law' documents below. It is titled: MPBL_2019_Amendment_Guide

Online submission of building plans, land use applications compulsory as of 1 July 2019

The City of Cape Town will, as from Monday 1 July 2019, only accept online submissions of building plan and land use applications. Residents, government departments and professionals submitting development applications are reminded to register for the City’s online services, called e-Services, as soon as possible. Read more below:


Residents, government departments and professionals have been able to submit building plans and land use applications via the City’s e-Services portal since 2015 when the Development Application Management System (DAMS) was introduced.


The transition from paper to digital has been a long journey and the City’s Development Management Department set 1 July 2019 as the deadline for becoming fully digitised.


The department has, over the past few months, prepared and trained City officials, set up public workstations, and communicated with applicants and the public to ensure the transition happens as efficiently as possible.


The department, along with officials from the City’s Revenue Office, will be hosting an e-Services registration drive on 27 June 2019 and 4 July 2019. Booking is essential and those interested are requested to please contact the department at to secure their spot. Interested parties will be informed about the supporting documentation required in order to register and to create a profile when they book. 


‘We must embrace the digital information age and the advantages that this technology offers us to become a smarter, faster and a more forward-thinking and competitive City. Thus, as of Monday 1 July 2019 district office counters will be replaced by the City’s e-Services portal,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.


Submitting applications via the City’s online portal has many benefits for applicants:

·         Submissions can be made 24/7, thus, there are no restrictive office hours

·         Submissions can be made from anywhere in the world, be it from your study or another country

·         There is no need to commute or drive to a district office to submit an application by hand

·         There is no queuing or scanning of documents

·         It is paperless and helps saving our planet

·         Applicants can monitor and track the progress/status of their applications at any time from any place

·         It enables instant electronic communication between the City and the applicant during the assessment process



‘Many residents have already made the transition from manual to online. Currently, up to 72% of building plan applications and 66% of land use applications are submitted through the City’s e-Services portal. We’re now requesting other applicants to also make the switch,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.


The drive to become 100% digitised will not exclude those without internet access.


Each one of the City’s district planning offices have workstations available for public use. Officials will also be able to assist residents to register for e-Services and to use City resources to access e-Services for the submission of applications. Nobody will be excluded. I encourage residents and professionals to make use of the registration drive to get registered, said Alderman Nieuwoudt. 

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town


Media enquiries: Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt, Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 400 5154 or Cell: 084 224 0023, Email: (please always copy

(Attachment documents referred to are in the File box titled 'Municipal Planning By-Law' lower down on this page)

We draw attention to the following information related to the CoCT rules and regulations in respect
of Land Use Management, Zoning Legislation and Densification:-

1. The CoCT allows for Second Dwellings under Single Residence One (SR1) zoning:
There are, under the CoCT Development Management Scheme (DMS) certain `additional rights'
under SR1 zoning ­ one being allowed to build a `second dwelling'.

2. The CoCT have proposed that a `third dwelling' be permitted as an additional right use on
properties zoned Single Residential One (SR1).

See attached MPBL Amendment Guideline Document (2019).

"This is under the auspice that densification is pivotal in promoting the long-term sustainability and
efficiency of Cape Town's rural, natural, and urban environment. Also, controlled and incremental
densification methods are promoted city-side by several strategies and policies." (Extracted from
Amendments Guideline Document 2019 ­ attached).

We refer you to the CoCT Densification Policy (2012) for general information regarding
Densification and the CoCT Municipal Planning By-Law (MPBL) 2017 ­ all attached.

In principle:
The CoCT MPBL allows a `second dwelling' as an `additional right' under Single Residence 1
(SR1) zoning.

A `second dwelling' is defined as another dwelling unit which may, in terms of the DMS, be erected
on a land unit where a dwelling house is also permitted; and such a second dwelling may be a
separate structure or attached to an outbuilding or may be contained in the same structure as the
dwelling house; provided that:
a) The second dwellings shall remain on the same land unit as the dwelling house; and
b) The second dwelling shall comply with the requirement specified in the Development Management Scheme.
Refer to the Municipal Planning By-Law 2017 ­ specifically Clause 21 (b).
Furthermore, it is submitted, that a `third dwelling' may, in terms of the DMS, be erected on a land
unit where a dwelling house and a second dwelling have already been approved.
Refer to Item 8 on Page 9 of the attached MPBL Amendment Guideline Document.

It is important for objectors to be aware of the CoCT policies and rules pertaining to Land Use
Management (LUM) in order to avoid objecting to issues which are legally allowed as `additional rights'.


Do you want to know what Zoning your property has been given?  Click on this link:

 which describes how to use PBDM Zoning Map viewer.
What can residents do about developments or alterations to adjacent properties:
The Building Inspectors responsible for the City Bowl are:
Section Head is Johan Gerber
Principle Building Inspector is Rafeeq Fischer
Building Inspector is Jason Williams

Planning Departures have to be advertised to directly affected neighbours, usually those on either side of the applicant and the 3 across the street. This may vary depending on the particulars of the properties involved. (e.g. is it in a Heritage Protection Zone?)

Neighbours have the right of access to the application file at the Planning Dept, Media City, Foreshore and are entitled to send concerns and objections to them at:
CONTACT NUMBER: 021 400 6444

ADDRESS: Media City Building, 2nd Floor, cnr Adderley Street and Hertzog Boulevard, Cape Town, 8001 

You can complain to the City about contraventions of land use using the PDF form which you can download from the link in the TOWN PLANNING REPORTS box below:

Important information for Cape Town residents: 

Planning Applications: How to request an interview with the City's Planing Tribunal  for people who have objected to a development application and wish to pursue the matter at the Planning Tribunal.

Section 120(11) of the Municipal Planning By-Law (MPBL) provides that a person may request to make an oral representation at a meeting of the MPT. Such a request must comply with the following requirements:

1.      It must be a written request emailed to the following address :

2.      It must provide adequate reasons for the request.

3.      The request must be received at the above mentioned address at least 5 days before the MPT meeting, or closer to the meeting if good cause is shown, at which the application(s) will be considered.

In order to assist you to determine if you would like to make such request, you are directed to the following web link whereby the scheduled MPT meeting dates and the agendas are published:


Kindly ensure that your request reaches the relevant parties timeously. Should you have any queries in respect hereof you may contact Rene Petersen – 021 400 1997.


Yours sincerely 

Cassiem Brown

Customer Interface

Development Management  

2nd Floor, Media City Building

Hertzog Boulevard, Cape Town, 8000 

T +2721400 6472



The Municipal Planning Tribunal
All previous planning processes for objections and appeals have been abolished and replaced with
a single Municipal Planning Tribunal subsequent to changes in 2013 in national legislation governing
town planning. Cape Town is one of the of the few municipalities to be ready and to have implemented
this tribunal.
A few pointers:
All new planning applications fall under either of two types:
- Minor applications, which can be decided upon by planning officials under delegation.
- Major applications, such as removal of title deed restrictive conditions, major rezoning, penalties,
etc., which will go to the tribunal.
The tribunal has had 16 sessions (as of Match 2016), beginning on the 1st of October last year. It
sits once a month for each of the four districts. That which comprises the City Bowl sits on the first
Tuesday of each month from 10 am onwards in the Goodwood Municipal Centre.
Each tribunal consists of 5 members, the chair (Mr. Dave Daniels, the sole permanent member) and
4 assessors - two City officials and 2 professionals (architects, town planners, etc) in private practice.
These assessors are drawn from a pool of 21 comprising 12 City officials and 9 professionals. The
pool stands for 5 years, renewable only once for a further 5 years.
Who can take matters to the tribunal?:
- Either or both applicants and objectors;
- ’Interveners’: these are anyone who feels he or she has a reason to object - not necessarily someone
from the same area as the matter to be considered. A City Bowl resident could object, for example,
to a project that will affect a park in the Southern Suburbs. This is new.
All applications objected to will be referred automatically to the tribunal.
It is important that anyone wanting to make a submission to the tribunal notifies it of that intention and
asks for the opportunity to make oral representation on this or that application.
Submissions to the tribunal can be sent in advance. Whilst the applicable Act makes no mention of
the presence of a lawyer, there is nothing prohibiting objectors from being assisted by one.
Each side of an application has 10 minutes to make an oral representation, as in the past.
The tribunal does not make site visits but there is nothing to stop a tribunal member to do so in his
or her personal capacity.
Note that applications are not discussed in caucus prior to hearings; that tribunal members are required
to confirm in writing that (1) they have read the documents submitted in advance of a hearing and
(2) that they have not been approached by a party to an application or discussed it with any other
party prior to the hearing.
The tribunal’s schedule is available on the City’s website (look for ”Documents...”) one week prior to
each hearing.
Concerns have been raised as City officials will be part of the decision, as well as to how neutral
outside practitioners can be when everyone knows everyone and applications will have been dealt
with, in most cases, by colleagues. Only time will tell...
Finally: if you are not happy with a planning tribunal decision, the appeal authority is the mayor, to
whom you can refer the matter for review.
Note: This process applies only to applications submitted to the City from the 1st of July 2015.
All applications submitted before that date will follow the previous process. It is estimated that there
were ± 1.000 of such pending applications as of March 2016.
April 2016. (The above will be updated as experience in the workings of the tribunal is gained.)
NB a copy of this information may be downloaded from the PDF in the Town Planning reports box below.
Contact the Municipal Planning Tribunal via:
Secretary René Petersen
021 400 1997
086 588 5744
Below are documents of interest relating to Town Planning in several File boxes:
NB use the scroll bar on the right hand side to see all the documents, then click on one to read or download it.

Town Planning Reports

Municipal Planning by-Law

Title Deeds Restrictive conditions

New CT Zoning Scheme

NB use the scroll bar on the panel above to see the full list of documents

Heritage protection zones and information

NB use the scroll bar on the panel above to see the full list of documents
The grading for Cape Town's heritage resources (buildings) are available on The City of Cape Town GIS viewer at the following link on their website:
Please look to the right on the layer menu and select THEMES, HERITAGE, LOCAL HERITAGE RESOURCES
you have to tick the heritage theme on the right and then go on info. The colouring showing the different grading only appears when you zoom out quite a bit.

Some useful brochures and guidelines my be viewed or downloaded from this box:

Heritage brochures and grading guidelines