WIT Press

Strategic Environmental Assessment For The Growth Of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


Free (open access)





Page Range

335 - 346




1,246 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


G. Nicolson


This paper describes the processes and results of a Strategic Environmental Assessment study completed in February 2009 on how the expansion of the city of Pietermartizburg along its principal development axis should occur and be managed in an environmentally acceptable and appropriate manner. Pietermaritzburg is a city within the Province of KwaZulu-Natal of South Africa which is experiencing rapid growth due to a youthful population and significant rural to urban migration which is compounded by particular local circumstances. These are related to its recent designation as the capital city of the province of KwaZulu-Natal, its strategic location on a wider regional development axis, close proximity to a major metropolitan region, and the existing spatial distortions it has inherited in the \“new South Africa” as a legacy of the previous apartheid-driven spatial planning ideology that was inflicted on this city. A river catchment approach is selected as the most appropriate landscape and ecological unit within which to achieve the study’s objectives. This study unit was based on the small Mkhondeni River catchment that was well located to serve this purpose. After a detailed investigation, public participation process and the formulation and application of an appropriate spatial planning conceptual framework the most desirable land use plan for this river catchment area has been proposed. The ecological linkages that should be maintained between this catchment and other neighbouring areas have also been identified, and the most appropriate environmental planning and management strategies to apply within the study area are recommended in order to ensure its sustainable development. Keywords: city spatial planning, river catchment studies, environmental management, Pietermartizburg, South Africa.


city spatial planning, river catchment studies, environmental management, Pietermartizburg, South Africa