George Municipality was one of 11 Municipalities and delegates that attended an Infrastructure Skills Development Grant (ISDG) alignment working session for town and regional planning at the King George Protea Hotel last week.
The workshop was initiated by National Treasury with the aim of creating a platform where town planning graduates/interns, supervisors and mentors across South Africa, who benefit from the ISDG programme to engage on aspects related to the effectiveness of the programme to develop planning graduates on their road to registration with the South African Council for Planners (SACPLAN), build professional networks, liaise, share experiences, and generally improve the overall efficiency of the ISDG Programme. The ISDG Road to Registration programme for Town Planners is aimed at providing young, unemployed planning graduates with the necessary professional support, mentorship, and resources, to gain the necessary experience and skills, over a three-year period, to demonstrate competency within the context of specific outcomes and to prepare them for professional registration as Planners with SACPLAN. The outcomes include, scope of knowledge, knowledge of pertinent literature, method and procedure, problem solving, ethics and professional practice and more.
South African Council for Planners:
The South African Council for Planners (SACPLAN) is the statutory Council of nominated members appointed in terms of the Planning Profession Act, 2002 (Act 36 of 2002) by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform (Department of Rural Development and Land Reform) to regulate the Planning Profession (Planning is both the organisational process of creating and maintaining a plan) in terms of the Act.
The purpose of the ISDG candidate phase is to expose and train candidates in a variety of planning activities and develop them in problem solving, judgement and responsible planning decision making in accordance with SACPLAN outcomes as inferred through, inter alia, the SACPLAN: Rules and Code of Conduct (2013) as promulgated in terms of the Planning Professional Act, 2002 (Act 36 of 2002).
George Municipality is one of 18 local and district municipalities across South Africa that is taking part in the programme. Ald Leon van Wyk, Executive Mayor of George, addressed the attendees and said sharing experiences and building professional networks will take young professionals strides closer to realising their goals. He said it is essential that we spearhead the preparation and training of young town planners to take their place in a more resilient and sustainable future.
Van Wyk emphasised that especially trainee planners, interns or students should make use of the opportunity to develop skills in problem-solving judgement and responsible planning decision-making. He said Municipalities need well-trained professionals to influence our built environment and the role players that function in that environment. “It is for this reason that I believe the value of programmes such as the ISDG must not be under-valued. My thanks to National Treasury for this initiative, thanks to the mentors and supervisors that invest their time in imparting their experience and knowledge and thank you to the young planners for your commitment and hard work toward building your careers,” Van Wyk said.
According to Delia Power, Deputy Director: Planning and Environment at George Municipality, George employs 14 registered Planners, of which eight are professional planners.
Currently the Municipality employs five planners that have been trained locally through this programme. Some of these planners addressed the working session over the two days of deliberation and shared their experience on the road leading to the conclusion of their registration. Power said collectively our professional planners alone, hold a century’s worth of experience both from the private sector and municipal environment.
Planners have significant roles to play in the successful implementation of national strategic objectives and spatial policies through various scales of planning as outlined through, for example the Spatial Planning Land Use Management Act, 2013 (Act 16 of 2013) and the NSDF (2050) at national level, the various Provincial Spatial Development Frameworks at provincial/ regional scale and Municipal SDF’s at local scale.
The ISDG Programme therefore aims to build much needed professional capacity, particularly within local municipality context.