About Us

What is the Eastern Seaboard Regional Spatial Development Framework?

The Eastern Seaboard Development initiative serves as a starting point to unlock the economic potential of two regions namely Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

The Eastern Seaboard is located along approximately 250 km coastal stretch between Coffee Bay in the King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality in the south and Scottburgh in UMdoni Local Municipality in the north. The Eastern Seaboard consists of regional development anchors, rural service centres and dispersed rural settlements across and along the N2 corridor in municipalities within KwaZulu-Natal to the Eastern Cape province mainly by the road network. There is currently limited physical and ICT infrastructure as well as economic development. The area is endowed with natural resources spanning across multiple administrative boundaries and lies between two (2) provinces, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, four (4) District Municipalities namely, (i) Harry Gwala, (ii) Ugu (iii) Alfred Nzo and (iv) OR Tambo and seventeen municipalities (17) depicted under key partners.
The purpose of the project is to develop the Eastern Seaboard Regional Spatial Development Framework (ESRSDF) in terms of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) to address the legacy of Apartheid spatial planning and to provide increased sustainable service delivery that will improve the quality of life of current and future residents across the region in relation to:

The Eastern Seaboard RSDF will improve the quality of life in relation to:

Socio-economic development

Agriculture and

Culture and heritage

The Eastern Seaboard RSDF will:


The National Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) through the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) has embarked on a process to develop the Eastern Seaboard, which will ultimately culminate in one or more African coastal smart cities in the region. This initiative involves the declaration of the Eastern Seaboard area as a Region in terms of Section 18 (3) of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act No. 16 of 2013 (SPLUMA). The development of a Regional Spatial Development Framework for the Eastern Seaboard area serves as a key component towards the establishment of an African Coastal Smart City that lies between two (2) provinces of Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.


The nature of spatial development planning is to understand the impact of the different areas on the human environment from a spatial perspective.


The ESRSDF would need to embed the African coastal smart city objectives in its analysis, vision and strategies, while ensuring that the concept is appropriate to the South African and Eastern Seaboard spatial, socio-economic and cultural context.
The Eastern Seaboard lies between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal Province, covering 4 Districts and 17 Local Municipalities and is home to over 3,6 million people residing in significant portions of land either communal, tribal or state owned. The region is endowed with natural resources spanning across multiple administrative boundaries; however, it is largely underdeveloped with poverty, unemployment and inequality rampant across the region.

The Eastern Seaboard Development initiative serves as a starting point for decisively addressing the challenges confronting the Eastern Seaboard and unlocking the economic potential in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and enhancing regional connectivity. This will be achieved through intentional development, in an all of government approach through the District Development Model (DDM). The DDM will be leveraged as far as possible to unlock the development potential of the District spaces through improved inter-governmental collaboration and joint planning, budgeting and implementation process that focuses investment to respond to the needs of the people.

Project Phases

The phased approach will ensure that specific
project objectives are reached, including:

The development of strategies that are implementable in order to change space economy for the greater good of all in the region.
The development of one or more African coastal smart cities in the region.

The six project phases are:

Phase 1 involved the development of the Inception Report and the presentation of it, to communicate the purpose of the project and obtain buy-in, to the relevant structures and stakeholders including the Workstream Steering Committee lead by the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), and the National Project Steering Committee lead by MISA.
Key outcomes/deliverables:
  • Inception Report including the following;
    • Stakeholder engagement and communication plan
    • Skills transfer plan
    • ESRSDF website and spatial information system
    • Marketing and branding strategy
    • Monitoring and Evaluation plan
Status Quo Research and Analysis Report
Phase 2 of the project involves Status Quo Analysis Report. It involves an analysis of the legislative and policy context and the development of a conceptual vision for the Eastern Seaboard RSDF. This is an opportunity to analyse various policies and legislation to extract strategic and spatial direction that will guide the development of the RSDF and subsequently the entire Eastern Seaboard Development.
Key outcomes/deliverables:
  • Status Quo Research 
Regional Situational Analysis and Synthesis
Current Phase
Phase 3 of the project involves a spatial analysis and a multidisciplinary situational analysis of the various components forming part of a RSDF. This process will be followed by a synthesis exercise of the information generated in the regional situational analysis through spatial-based approach.
Key outcomes/deliverables:
  • Regional Situational Analysis and Synthesis 
Draft ESRSDF Spatial Proposal and Implementation Framework
Phase 4 of the project involves the drafting of the spatial proposals informed by the African Smart City vision, spatial objectives and principles, as well as the regional situational synthesis. An implementation framework will also be developed in this phase. This will include the development of the Capital Expenditure Framework that identifies priorities, institutional arrangements and implementation requirements.
Key outcomes/deliverables:
  • Draft ESRSDF Spatial Proposal and Implementation Framework
Public Participation and 2nd Draft ESRSDF
This phase involves public participation and the revision of the draft ESRSDF.

During this phase, the following ESRSDF components will be implemented:
  • Marketing and branding strategy, and
  • The Skills Transfer Plan.

Public participation workshops will be conducted using our design-led thinking as a strategy for innovation. By using the design-led thinking approach as part of our strategy we have been able to innovate not only in the design outcomes, but also adjust our thinking process throughout this journey.

The workshops will give the community and all relevant stakeholders an opportunity to provide comments on the draft ESRSDF and its Implementation Framework.
Key outcomes/deliverables:
  • Public participation 
  • Second Draft of the Easter Seaboard Regional Spatial Development Framework 
ESRSDF Finalisation and Approval
Phase 6 involves refining, updating and finalising the ESRSDF and the submission of the final ESRSDF to the Minister of National Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development for promulgation in the National Gazette. A complete set of all documents and records generated during the project will be submitted. A close-out report will be developed containing a summary of the project and an analysis of the challenges encountered as well as lessons learnt.
Key outcomes/deliverables:
  • Final Easter Seaboard Regional Spatial Development Framework