Public consultation on UCT’s spatial and infrastructure development framework

23 June 2022 | VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Dear colleagues and students

The first draft of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Integrated Development Framework (IDF) was prepared during 2013/2014 at the request of the national Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), which required the submission of a “University Campus Master Plan” as a guide to capital expenditure in the following five to 20 years.

This followed the UCT Long-term Spatial Development Framework and Urban Design Concept of 2005 and the UCT Size and Shape Report of 2011. The IDF Executive Summary Report was approved by the university Council, having been endorsed by the University Building and Development Committee (UB&DC), and was subsequently accepted by DHET.

The UCT Integrated Development Framework (IDF) of May 2022, an update and elaboration of the IDF executive summary, has been formally submitted to the City of Cape Town (CoCT) for approval in terms of the Package of Plans Process and in support of a number of technical land use applications, but also to ensure predictability and certainty for the university in its planning.

The IDF is intended to assist the university in meeting its growth needs, in accordance with its mission, over the next several decades, and provides a framework to guide the growth of the university from approximately 29 000 to 32 000 undergraduate and postgraduate students on campus by 2030, for which approximately 51 000m² of new academic space is required.

To meet the imperatives of student housing, at least a third of the university’s students are intended to be housed in residence, on or in close proximity to campus, ie. approximately 10 600 student beds, of which approximately 4 000 more beds are still required.

The IDF identifies overall policy, broad goals, and principles for development, while conceptual precinct plans for the five campuses/precincts of main campus indicate opportunities for infill development. In due course, more detailed precinct plans and/or site development plans will confirm the built form and actual floor space per development parcel.

The second stage of the IDF is now underway and involves submission to the relevant authorities, particularly to the CoCT, to secure and confirm development rights, as well as submission in parallel to Heritage Western Cape (HWC) for endorsement.

Approval is sought for the following land use management components of this IDF in terms of the City of Cape Town Municipal Planning By-Law:

  • approval of Package of Plans comprising a development framework and precinct plans
  • designation of UCT’s Rondebosch Upper, Middle and Lower Campus, Rosebank Residence Precinct, Mowbray Residence Precinct and the Health Sciences Campus in Observatory as a Special Planning Area (SPA)
  • rezoning, subdivision and consolidation of a number of erven, in order to rectify historic cadastral and zoning anomalies and avoid ad hoc departures for new developments.

In parallel, the endorsement / approval of the following heritage components are sought from HWC in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act:

  • a Conservation Framework for the built environment of UCT
  • a Heritage Inventory (grading of buildings and sites)
  • a Heritage Agreement, to be concluded between UCT and HWC.

The Heritage Agreement, which covers the Rondebosch-Observatory Main Campus, as well as Hiddingh Campus, aims to clarify the powers and responsibilities of the municipal and provincial heritage authorities and avoid duplication and delays in obtaining development approvals.

A critical component involves a public participation process to garner input from the university community, the university’s neighbours as well as the general public. This will be followed by a rigorous review process by the CoCT and HWC, before the IDF is finally approved for implementation.

An integrated public consultation process for the land use management and heritage components will be undertaken shortly and will include press adverts, on-site notices, correspondence through registered mail and e-mail, with documents available for download on the CoCT website and UCT’s website.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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