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On the 15th of November 2022, during a question and answer session in Parliament, the President of South Africa was asked how the impact of apartheid planning was being addressed in the country. In response, he stated that the ‘country does not have good town planners and transformation is slow.’ This statement had the professional community up in arms, since many in the professional community remain unemployed. However, the statement reiterates the findings of numerous policies passed over the last 25 years,
including JIPSA, LGTAS, ASGISA and NDP, which all emphasised the scarcity of professionals. In light of this, the article seeks to unpack the scarcity of town planning professionals using the definitions given by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA), as well as from a young planner’s perspective. The study utilised a purposeful sampling technique which identified town planners via LinkedIn and conducted 105 online structured interviews. The interviews confirmed the scarcity in the profession, but not in the labour force. Rather, the scarcity is created through skills gaps, vague policies, lack of professional registration, and BBEE policies. As a result, the town planning capacity in the country is fragile due to the complex environment within which it operates. The current study provides insight into the lack of town planning professionals in South Africa and suggests recommendations to reduce this dilemma.
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