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Land invasion in greater Edendale, proposed urban hub precinct: scope and impacts imposed to town planning processes.

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This dissertation intends to investigate the impacts imposed by land invasion on town planning processes. This was done with special reference to an area earmarked for the establishment of the Greater Edendale Urban Hub (GEUH), an informally developed area located 10km from the Pietermaritzburg City. Data collection was done through interviews and focus group discussions with purposively selected samples inclusive of local leadership and government officials involved in land management, spatial and environmental planning within the Greater Edendale area. Findings insinuate that land invasion cannot be regarded a sustainable method of land distribution because it has far-reaching negative impacts not only to planning processes but also to the social wellbeing of residents and to the environment. However, the perennial existence of the problem and its underpinnings within the Greater Edendale area exposes firstly the imperfections and failures of the existing land protection mechanisms, urban land and housing markets to distribute land sufficiently to the poor. Secondly, it also becomes clear that transformation to reverse the skewed patterns of land ownership inherited from apartheid has been slow. These two factors cultivate an environment that encourages a culture of accessing and using urban land through methods that are inconsiderate of standards set by Town Planning mechanisms. This dissertation argues, the current patterns of land distribution are untenable and unsustainable, and while the treatment of symptoms can bring relief from time to time it is clear that South Africa needs to decisively rectify these challenges through finding a long-term solution. Continued neglect in this regard may have further far-reaching impacts to planning that have the potential to render the planning processes futile. Finally, the establishment of the GEUH is a necessary development that has great potential of transforming the socio-economic scenarios of the residents. Therefore, the issues of relocation for households situated within the land earmarked for the GEUH becomes inevitable while the settlements unaffected should be considered for community-led land regularisation. These two planning processes can bear a significant impact on the lives of Greater Edendale residents if they employ socially just, decolonised and community-driven methods.


Master’s degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.