Newcastle is regarded as one of the growing towns within the KZN province, coupled with this is the opportunity of being a regional centre of Northern KZN. The municipal vision in terms of the IDP, states that “By 2030 Newcastle Municipality will be a sustainable economically vibrant city region that affords its citizens a high quality of life”. To achieve this vision the Department of Development Planning and Human Settlement will be playing a big role towards providing a long-term direction for the municipality in terms of planning for spatial growth, economic development and ensuring provision of integrated and sustainable human settlements for a sustainable economically vibrant city.
To be dynamic in shaping the municipal spatial structure and development growth to supports the creation of a vibrant city which is economically sustainable and improves our residents’ quality of life and local environment.
The above mission can be achieved through:
• Development of sound spatial frameworks and local area plans to guide current and future development of Newcastle municipal area;
• Unlocking and facilitating the processes of land and economic development that can attract investment opportunities to Newcastle;
• Facilitating the delivery of sustainable integrated human settlements and effective management of our housing projects;
• Providing an efficient land use and building management services and ensuring appropriate enforcement mechanism of bylaws applicable in these areas;
• Facilitate urban renewal interventions and programmes that will improve people’s lives especially in our most disadvantaged communities of Newcastle; and
• Ensuring access to accurate and reliable strategic and spatial information to inform development and decision-making through effective and efficient Geographical Information System (GIS).
The department’s key strategic objectives in terms of the IDP are:
• To promote spatial restructuring and integration of the municipality;
• To promote sustainable development and environmental awareness;
• To develop spatial development framework, local area plans, policies, strategies to guide and manage development and growth for the municipal area;
• Develop an efficient and effective a land use management system so as to promote a rational and harmonious land use activity system;
• To promote human settlements that are economically viable, aesthetically pleasant, habitable vibrant and integrated;
• To facilitate the provision housing in line with the national and provincial norms and standards;
• To promote sustainable human settlements in rural areas (land reform areas);
• Management of municipal housing stock;
• Efficient management of the municipal real estate;
• To facilitate economic development that will result in sustainable job creation; and
• To ensure an effective, efficient and integrated Geographical Information Management System.
The Department of Development Planning and Human Settlements has four directorates namely Human Settlements, Economic Development, Town Planning and Urban Renewal Programme & Special Projects.
Housing delivery forms one of the key objectives of the Newcastle Municipality in terms of the municipal plans (i.e. IDP, SDF, Housing Sector Plan). The Human Settlements Directorate is therefore responsible for the delivery of sustainable integrated human settlement in the municipal area. In terms of Section 26 of the Constitution, 1996 “Everyone has a right to adequate housing”. It is the government’s intention to accelerate the provision of housing opportunities, including prioritising, upgrading of informal settlements and the provision of serviced sites, in order to assist and help people who are most in need – with limited or no access to basic services.
In 2012, the municipality was awarded a Level 2 housing accreditation status which has now allowed the municipality to directly implement national housing programmes by assuming the responsibility for beneficiary management, subsidy budget planning and allocation, and priority programme/project management and technical quality assurance.
The directorate is also responsible for the administration of the municipal immovable property by managing the processes of disposal of municipal land by public tender and the acquisition of land required for housing development.
The functional Units under the Human Settlements Directorate includes: Housing Administration and Customer Relations; Real Estate; Rural Housing Development; Urban Housing Development and Housing Construction Unit.
1. Housing Administration and Customer Relations
This unit is responsible for the :
• Management and the allocation of sites to beneficiaries
• Management of Housing Waiting List
• Facilitation of registration of title deeds
• Issuing of clearance certificates.
• Monitoring of illegal occupation of land
• Reporting on the state of affairs in respect of housing demands in Newcastle.
2. Real Estate
This unit is responsible for :
• Managing the expropriation of land and land transfers
• Registration of title deeds on land
• Liaising with municipal departments on land requirements
• Reporting on changes / developments pertaining to the municipality’s land holdings.
3. Rural Housing Development
This unit is responsible for :
• Facilitating the development of sustainable rural settlements
• Packaging of rural housing development funding to province and monitor progress with respect to approvals thereof
• Facilitating security of tenure in rural areas
• Facilitating the resettlement of communities occupying unsuitable land and upgrading of informal settlements in rural areas
• Undertake quality management with respect to rural housing being developed.
4. Urban Housing Development
This unit is responsible for :
• Packaging of applications for urban housing development funding to province and monitor progress with respect to approvals thereof.
• Facilitating the upgrading of informal settlements within urban areas
• Facilitate resettlement of communities occupying unsuitable land
• Facilitate the delivery of different types of urban housing
• Facilitate the rectification of defective state built housing
5. Housing Construction Unit
This unit is responsible for :
• Housing construction project management
• Contract administration
• Programme cash flows planning and management
• Technical (Construction) quality assurance
• Costing exercise for proposed new housing projects
The Economic Development Directorate promotes economic development and opportunities – from a business to a community level and is also responsible for tourism promotion and marketing of Newcastle Municipality.
The Economic Development Directorate has 3 Functional Units/or Sections which includes: Tourism Development and Marketing; Local Economic Development and Enterprise Development; Marketing Research and Promotion.
1. Tourism Development and Marketing
The Tourism and marketing unit is responsible for the implementation and promotion of agricultural initiatives, tourism packages, arts and culture and the identification of potential investors for tourist promotion interventions.
Some of the functions of this unit are:
• Managing and monitoring the municipality’s tourism development function
• Marketing and Branding of Newcastle Municipality
• Identifying and planning of interventions necessary for promoting tourism in and around surrounding areas of Newcastle.
• To ensure the functionality is capable of supporting Council’s Tourism objectives through recognition of immediate priorities and longer term interventions.
• Co-ordinates applications and processes associated with the promotion and positioning of the Region as a preferred Tourist destination.
• Researching and keeping abreast of developments in the region to enable compilation of articles, itineraries and/ or events calendars for inclusion into publicity material.
• Developing and distributing survey questionnaire’s, analyzing and reporting on feedback pertaining to strengths, need for improvement and capability of the Region to sustain tourism levels.
2. Local Economic Development and Enterprise Development
The Local Economic and Enterprise Development Unit ensures the facilitation of Economic Development of Newcastle Municipality by:
• Developing and providing input into the development of policies / strategies / by-laws to ensure that such strategies are in line with council’s economic development objectives.
• Developing, managing and monitoring the investment facilitation program of council.
• Developing and implementing a business support program for emerging and established business.
• Liaising with stakeholders in the Local Economic Development field such as government department, business chambers, NGO’s, etc.
3. Marketing Research and Promotion
This unit is responsible for conducting market research to identify support and promote potential investment, including foreign investment opportunities and areas for economic development.
Key functions of the Unit includes:
• Promote and support new investment opportunities within the Municipality
• Development and implementation of investment and marketing strategies,
• The marketing and branding of Newcastle
• Providing an after care service to all investors.
• Promote and support foreign investment opportunities
• Manage and support emerging industries
• Providing services of a one stop-shop Investment Enquiry Desk
• Develop and Implementation of Investment & Marketing Strategies
• Ensuring that up to date economic information / statistics are available
Town Planning Directorate is responsible for planning and building management functions of the municipality. This includes, the preparation of spatial frameworks, local area plans, to developing long term strategies while ensuring physical, economic, environmental alignment as well as integration of all sectors. The directorate is also responsible for providing efficient and effective land use management and building inspectorate services to our residents who are property owners and developers as well as prospective investors.
The Town Planning Directorate has 4 Functional Units which includes: Land Use Management; Spatial and Forward Planning; Building Inspectorate and GIS.
1. Land Use Management
The Land Use Management (LUM) Unit is responsible for land use management and enforcement functions. This entails the processing and assessing of development applications for land-use, and enforcing legal planning conditions and regulations. The unit is also responsible of managing outdoor advertising within the municipal area.
Key functions of the Unit includes:
• Land Use Management, which includes processing special consent and rezoning applications;
• Development of municipal Land Use Management System (i.e. Wall to Wall scheme);
• Enforcement of unauthorized land usage;
• Processing of building line relaxation applications provide building control services;
• Processing of outdoor advertising applications and enforcement.
2. Spatial and Forward Planning
Spatial and Forward Planning Unit is responsible of planning and guiding the spatial and physical transformation of the Newcastle Municipality towards an efficient, sustainable and economically vibrant city. The unit’s mandate is to provide short, medium and long term spatial direction to municipal development through coordinating, developing and monitoring spatial development frameworks, policies, local plans and development of the municipal area.
The functions of this unit includes the following:
• Establishment sound Municipal Spatial Development Framework, development guidelines, policies and local area plans;
• Development facilitation and packaging of projects;
• Transportation planning;
• Environmental management and development of Municipal Environmental Management Framework;
3. Building Inspectorate
The Building Inspectorate Unit’s function is to receive, acknowledge and process building plans. According to The National Building Regulations and Building Standard Act No. 103 of 1977, no person shall without the prior approval in writing of the local authority in question, erect any building in respect of which plans and specifications are to be drawn and submitted in terms of this Act.
Therefore the functions of this unit are:
• Create awareness on building regulations
• Enforcement of illegal building activity
4. Geographical Information System (GIS)
The GIS unit is a support unit to the Development Planning and Human Settlements Department. It’s responsible at ensuring that we have an effective, efficient and integrated Geographical Information Management System. The unit also supports the Municipality in terms of plans generation.
URBAN RENEWAL PROGRAMME AND SPECIAL PROJECTS
The purpose of this department is to improve specific underdeveloped and dilapidated areas of Newcastle in order to ensure that all residents of Newcastle have access to quality basic services. The unit identifies and co-ordinates plans that are integrated into the Special Projects Programme of Newcastle Municipality.
The URP&SP unit was established in 2008 and its objective was to tackle poverty and underdevelopment in the most disadvantaged urban areas of Newcastle Municipality known as MBO areas (i.e. Madadeni, Blaauwbosch and Osizweni). There has been some progress in these areas since the establishment of the Urban Renewal Programme in the municipality this include in particular, the co-ordinated and sustained infrastructure development including roads, walkways, landscaping in the township CBD’s etc. The core functions of the Urban Renewal Programme and Special Projects includes the following:
• Identification, Planning, Integration and co-ordination of URP Projects
• Provide Project management support to URP projects
• Co-ordination and implementation of various Special Projects and Programmes (NDPG, Greytown-Msinga-Madadeni Battlefields Corridor Development Programme, etc.)
• Facilitate access to funding for URP Projects
• Facilitate synergies and knowledge management for the URP programme
• Community liaison and support
• Enhance governance and community development within the MBO URP areas
• Coordination of activities of all stakeholders within the URP Programme