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2008-02-06: DFA Declaratory Order

The Johannesburg Witwatersrand Local Division has ruled against the City of Johannesburg's objection to the jurisdiction of the Gauteng Development Tribunal (GDT), established in terms of the Development Facilitation Act (DFA) of 1995 to consider land development applications in the jurisdiction of the City.

The City argued, inter alia, that such a right is vested exclusively with the Council.

The much-anticipated judgement in the DFA matter was handed down on 5 February 2008. 
It was found that the DFA empowers the GDT to take decisions on development applications in the City's jurisdiction; that the City does not have exclusive authority over such applications and for that reason, the DFA is not unconstitutional and not invalid.

The Court stated that the DFA provides for a system parallel to the Town Planning and Townships Ordinance of 1986, and that no conflict exists between the two pieces of legislation.  The city is of the view that two parallel systems would create huge confusion and would be untenable.

The City said it is disappointed on the ruling and is in the process of studying the lengthy judgement with a view of lodging a possible application for leave to appeal.

This will be decided in due course. In the interim, the City has stated that it would be advisable for developers to continue to submit their development applications to the Council instead of the GDT.