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COVID19 lockdown level 4: Development Planning, Environment & Management Unit’s interim operational measures
Following the implementation of the Level 4 lockdown from the 1st May 2020, the Development Planning, Environment & Management Unit (DPE&M) has been busy with preparations to resume services in line with the national objectives of gradual reopening of the economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we live our lives and the way we do business. Consistent with the provisions of COGTA Regulations issued under Level 4, a limited number of staff will resume duty from the 18th May 2020 on a rotational basis. Service will be provided as follows:
  1. APPLICATIONS IN THE SYSTEM
    All types of applications that were already in the system when Level 5 lockdown kicked in, will be processed and concluded. Decision notices will be issued to applicants, interested and affected parties electronically depending on the type of application.
  2. INSPECTIONS
    The Unit has been conducting compulsory and emergency inspections as well as enforcement operations since the national lockdown was initiated, these will continue.
  3. NEW APPLICATIONS
    Only land development applications for activities permitted under Level 4 will be accepted i.e applications for dwellings are not permitted for an example. In this regard, the Unit is finalizing the development of an online system for the submission and processing of all types of applications (including Planning enquiry process) to be implemented incrementally with Phase 1 due to be deployed from the 28th May 2020.

    This will be an overall customer interface portal which will allow the customer to log in online and trigger the request of a service from remote locations. Further specific communication on the mechanics of the system will follow in due course.

    3.1 Emergency Building Work and/or Temporary Structures
    The Unit has been processing emergency applications since the national lockdown was initiated and will continue to do so. These are processed via the Building Inspectorate Branch (contact Mr Daniels Pentasaib via email: Daniels.Pentasaib@durban.gov.za).

    Applicants are required to submit critical documents, i.e. Structural Engineers Certificate, Fire Certificate, Plumbing Certificate, and Glazing Certificate and photographic evidence may also be required. Once all requirements are met, the Manager: Building Inspectorate will grant authority for construction to continue with the provision that building plans are submitted later. Our Building Inspectors are available to respond to emergency issues that may arise from such applications.
  4. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
    Chapter 9, section 32 of the eThekwini Municipality Planning and Land Use Management By-Law of 2016 (Municipal Notice 114 of 2017) sets out the types of land development applications which require public participation, in the manner and form provided for in section 34 of said By-Law.

    The advent of the National Lock-down meant that land development applications that commenced the public participation period before the lock-down may have closed during the lockdown period. In order not to prejudice any stakeholder or interested and affected party, the period of publication is hereby extended as follows:

    Land Development Applications submitted to the eThekwini Municipality that required public participation in terms of the Planning and Land Use Management By-Law referred to above and were advertised from Friday 28 February 2020, the period for the lodging of comments is further extended up to and including Friday 12 June 2020.
  5. BIODIVERSITY IMPACT ASSESSMENTS
    Please submit your Environmental Impact Assessment Reports and D'MOSS enquiries as PDFs for consideration via email to: Thenjiwe.Msani@durban.gov.za. and copy Michelle.Lotz@durban.gov.za  If your documents are too large, please call first (031 311 4262) and you will be taken through an alternative method. Walk in consultations are discouraged. 
  6. COPIES OF PLANS
    Copies of approved plans from our Records can only be made available on request via email and upon submission of the required documents. Such requests must be directed to Mr Sagren Naicker (031 311 7558/ Sagren.Naicker@durban.gov.za)
  7. MEETINGS
    Applicants, developers and general members of the public who wish to meet with our officials can only do so using digital platforms such as Skype, MS Teams and Zoom. The statutory decision-making structures such as JAC, MPT and others will continue to hold their meetings virtually.
  8. GENERAL COMMUNICATION
    Planning advice and enquiries will be limited via email and telephone in the Planning Information Centre (contact Mrs Chantel Palayan: 031 3117186 / Chantel.Palayan@durban.gov.za)
    General communication and follow ups on applications will also be limited via email and telephone as per the details provided in the table below:
DevelopmentPlanningUnitReopeningCOVID19Level4Interventions.pdfPlease click here to view Development Planning Unit contact details
 
Members of the public must please note that our offices are not open to the public and are encouraged to engage with us electronically. In exceptional circumstances where a visit to the office is unavoidable, you are encouraged to make an appointment as we are working with only a 3rd of our staff compliment in compliance with the COVID-19 Regulations. In this regard, please be advised that you will be subjected to a point of entry screening and entry will not be allowed without a permit and face mask.

There will be adjustments to the procedures during all lockdown levels. We thank members of the public and industry for their patience as we try to get used to our new normal.
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