You are on page 1of 17

Urban Planning in Botswana



 Two documents were central to the evolution of

Botswana's current urban planning system.

 Ball Report, prepared in 1968 by D.R. Ball a British town
 Heap Report, prepared in 1974 by the prominent British
Planning Law expert, Sir Desmond Heap.

 out of these two documents that Botswana's Town and
Country Planning Act, 1977, the Act on which the
country's current urban planning system is based,

The Ball Report of 1968

 to develop a physical planning framework to complement the

country's national socio-economic planning.

 contention was that the socio-economic development proposals as
put forward in the National Development Plans did not adequately
take into account issues relating to physical planning.

 National Development plans paid little attention to geographical co-
ordination of national and regional development, socio-economic
consideration at community and settlement levels

 As part of the technical assistance which the Government of
Botswana received from the British Government, a request was
forwarded to the British Government to send an adviser to
investigate and make recommendations in connection with town
and country planning in Botswana (Ball 1968:2)

 consultant was requested to focus among other things on

planning legislation, procedure and machinery for
considering and implementing land use proposals, and
the planning and development of tribal villages.

 In addition the professional adviser was required to

make recommendations to "any matters related to, or
having a bearing on effective land use planning" (Ball,

 At the time the study was commissioned, physical

planning in Botswana was based on the Town and
Country Planning Proclamation of 1961
Town and Country Planning Proclamation
of 1961

 modelled on South Africa's Cape Province Townships

and Town Planning Ordinance of 1935

 The Ball Report identified a number of deficiencies which
rendered the T&CPP 1961, inadequate for guiding
physical planning at the scale required by the post-
independence developments in Botswana.

 Amongst the deficiencies identified in the Proclamation
was that although it called for the preparation of a town
planning scheme (Section 22), "the purpose and form of
the town planning scheme was not specified."

Deficiencies in the T&CPP 1961

 A more crippling omission from the Proclamation was

that there was no provision made "for the government to
prepare a scheme as of right, or on behalf of a local
authority by agreement or in the event of a local
authority failing to do so"

 Apart from the deficiencies of the Proclamation
mentioned above, a major deficiency of the urban
planning system at the time, as perceived by Ball was
that there was little co-ordination between national
socio-economic planning and local physical planning.
 In addition, Ball also viewed local physical planning as
proceeding in an un-coordinated manner.

 In trying to come up with an urban planning system that would

address the above problems Ball turned to the South African and
British Planning legislation as his models.

 Instead of calling for the preparation of plans for all parts of the
country, as in the case of the British planning system (Ball, 1968),
Ball opted for the South African planning legislation in which plans
were prepared for selected areas.

 Ball was of the opinion that "In Botswana as in South Africa, it is
impracticable and unnecessary to prepare plans for the entire
country". It was however argued that it was "essential to "plan"
urban and possibly other areas and that these should reflect and
further the policies contained in the national development plan.
Recommendations (continued)

 For areas outside the "planning areas," the Ball Report

recommended that the government should define the
minimum scale of private development beyond which
planning control will be exercised."

 The Ball report also provided that the development of these

areas could proceed on the basis of advisory outline plans

 With regard to the form which the plan was to adopt, Ball
turned to the British Town and Country Planning Act of 1968
and called for the preparation of "Outline development
Town and Country Planning Act, 1977

 The translation of the ideas contained in the Ball Report into

the new planning legislation was taken up by yet another
British consultant, Sir Desmond Heap. Sir Desmond Heap's
task was defined as

 to review and revise the present town planning and related

legislation in order that it may form an adequate framework
to carry out the objective of guiding the development of the
villages, towns and regions in such a way as to promote and
safeguard the health of the inhabitants bearing in mind the
essential need for flexibility and simplicity in Botswana town
planning and to prepare a report together with a draft of
outline legislation (Heap, 1974:3)
Planning Areas

 Sir Desmond's Report and the resultant outline

legislation endorsed most of the recommendations made
in the Ball Report.
 More specifically Sir Desmond called for the replacement
of the Proclamation of 1961.

 With regard to planning areas, Sir Desmond was of the
opinion that "not all the country needs planning control"
 The towns of Gaborone, Francistown, Selibe-Phikwe and
Lobatse were all viewed as requiring immediate
demarcation as planning areas.

Non-planning areas

 With regard to "villages" Sir Desmond's Report indicated

that the planning area status could be accorded to the
villages of Kanye, Serowe, Molepolole, Maun and
Mahalapye "later and perhaps not very much later on"

 Sir Desmond's report was quite explicit on the exclusion

at least temporarily of "villages" from being declared
planning areas.
 main recommendation from the Heap Report was the
call for the immediate declaration of planning areas and
the preparation of development plans for these areas –
planning areas.
T&CPA 1977

 The recommendations of the two Reports formed the

basis of Botswana's Town and Country Planning Act
of 1977, which came into effect in 1980.
 The Act is currently the principal Act which guides
planning control in Botswana.
Structure of the T&CPA 1977

 divided into six parts namely:

 Part I - Preliminary and covers issues relating to
 Part II - deals with Central Administration of the
 Part III - addresses the issue of Development plans
 Part IV - the control of development
 Part V - land subdivisions
 Part VI- Supplemental.
Planning Areas

 In line with the notion of "planning areas" espoused

in the two Reports cited above, Part II Section 4 of
the Act empowers the Minister of Local Government
and Lands "to declare by order published in the
Gazette, areas of land in Botswana to be planning

 Section 4 further provides that once an area has been
declared a planning area, the provisions of the Town
and Country Planning Act shall become applicable at
the date set by the Minister.
Development Plan

 Part III Section 6 (2) of the Act requires the Minister to "prepare in
draft a plan indicating the manner in which he proposes that the
land in the planning area may be used...
 " Section 8 (1) of the Act requires the Minister to "consult with any
local authority in whose district such development will have effect."

 Under the same Section, in the process of preparing a development

plan, the Minister may consult with any other persons, bodies of
persons or authorities as he sees fit.
 Under Section 8 (2), the public in the area for which a development
plan has been prepared is to be informed of this development
through the Gazette and a local newspaper.
 In addition the public will also be notified of the place or places
where the copies of such a plan may be inspected by the public.
 Part IV deals specifically with development control
 Section 9 (1) requires that in a planning area, all
development shall require planning permission.
 As defined under the Act (Section 9 (2), development
means the "carrying out of buildings, engineering,
mining or other operations in, on, over or above any
land or the making of any material change in the use
of any building or other land."
 An exception is however made for those uses listed in
the Development Order.
Planning Areas

 Out of the Ball and Heap Reports emerged the idea of

"planning areas" which define the areas for which planning
control is to be exercised.
 idea of a "planning area" emerged from the notion that
planning control was not required for all parts of the country.

 Sir Desmond Heap was more specific with regard to which
areas were to be declared planning areas immediately- these
were the "official" urban areas.
 planning areas have became synonymous with those areas
defined by the government as "urban."
 Urban villages and urban-urban