Municipal Planning is a function assigned to municipalities in terms of section 156 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa read with Part B of Schedule 4 and in terms of which municipalities have both executive authority and a right to administer to the extent set out in Section 155. There is no precise definition of exactly what aspects of planning are included under the term Municipal Planning. The Constitutional Court in a judgement given in June 2010 stated that "… the term [municipal planning] is not defined in the Constitution. But "planning" in the context of municipal affairs is a term which has assumed a particular, well-established meaning which includes the zoning of land and the establishment of townships. In that context, the term is commonly used to define the control and regulation of the use of land." Emphasis added.
From this narrow ruling by the Constitutional Court, it is clear that Municipal Planning embraces other, as yet, undefined and untested aspects of planning. Under the 2000 re-demarcation of the country "wall-to-wall" municipalities were created thereby including all intervening land between the towns or former transitional local councils, i.e. including the tribal areas and the commercial farmland. This established a totally new responsibility for the new municipalities than had hereto been the case in that they were now required to extend their planning well beyond that of the former towns.