LOCAL: Municipal by-laws in the works

Approval of the new by-laws were front and centre during last Wednesday's local council meeting.

Newcastle has taken another step towards new municipal by-laws.

A set of policies and by-laws were presented to members of Newcastle Local Council last Wednesday by Municipal Manager, Errol Mswane.

He has described himself as excited with the new regulations.

A document included in the meeting’s council agenda provided further insight as to what the policies and by-laws entailed.

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These included:

Under the Community Services portfolio – cemetery/ crematorium, caravan parks, fire brigade, museum, library, disaster management, prevention and suppression of health nuisance, metered parking, refuse, pound, noise control and fare-bearing passenger + motor vehicle.

Under Development Planning and Human Settlements – information trade and the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA).

Under the Technical Services portfolio – water.

In terms of policies, the document noted various topics under Office of the Municipal Manager, Corporate Services, Community Services, Development Planning and Human Settlements and Technical Services.

Speaking after the presentation, Mswane said he was uncertain why the new by-laws took so long to come to fruition.

However, with these he expected people to do what they needed to.

“You can’t operate without by-laws and without them, you can’t be an authority.”

Mswane said his excitement was centered on the public comment process, during which residents could give input into what they wanted the by-laws to include.

He said this was a critical aspect of the process.

Once the public input period ended in January 2018, the comments and suggestions would be reviewed and presented to local council again.

After this, the by-laws will be presented to government for approval.

The final step of the process is the gazetting of the by-laws and policies by government, which establishes them as law.

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“The process of gazetting should take about three months, once it’s out of our hands.”

Mswane described the proposed by-laws as a breakthrough for standardising laws across Newcastle East and West.

“We are also setting up a policing unit to control and enforce by-laws.”

One of the notable areas mentioned in the new by-laws is parking metering, which Mswane described as a major frustration.

He explained the primary challenge was with infrastructure.

“The challenge was that all proposals we received had no real value for money. Now that there is a by-law, we will be regulating public parking.”


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Bruce Douglas

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