[DAG has a long and impressive track record in working in partnership with government to deliver affordable housing for the urban poor through its People’s Housing Process (PHP). Our current and past projects have so far effectively demonstrated best practices for partnership with local citizens, contractors and the state to deliver housing and or participatory planning for intervention within informal settlements. With a large emphasis on community-led development, DAG’s approach towards supporting communities grappling with human settlements problems and challenges has been instrumental in the delivery of over 7323 low-cost houses and improved tenure security for more than 27000 people across Cape Metropolitan Area]

Demonstrate: DAG in Construction


During 2013 while Dag team was in the middle of unblocking 9 PHP projects that were dormant for more than 10 years, Dag was further approached by the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements to assist in the unblocking of another dormant project in the Phillipi area. Similar to the Khayelitsha project this project called Masimanyane was also dormant for more than 10 years. The difference with Masimanyane was that there was a vibrant project committee led by strong women who was pushing the Department so hard for the project to be unblocked.

Masimanyane has 117 project beneficiaries of which some received half built houses and some never got any houses due to corruption and lack of monitoring systems from the side of the government. Dag team started with auditing all the 117 houses to verify work to be done and to also inform finances needed. Once all the preparation work on the ground was completed still in 2013 all the report were submitted to the department in order to release funding for the project. This process took longer than anticipated by Dag and by the project committee as a result 2.5 years passed without and word on funding for the project from the government.

The project committee together with Dag never set back during these difficult times various meeting were held with various players i.e MEC Madikizela and Deputy Minister Zoe Kota to look at ways to fund the project. Finally around the middle of 2016 an MOU was signed between Dag and the Provincial Department of Human Settlement and construction commenced towards the end of 2016. The Dag team anticipates completing the project by the middle of 2017. This project is delivered in partnerships with local contractors, project steering committee, construction industry bodies like NHBRC and support from the province and City of Cape Town technicians.


[Khayelitsha and the People’s Housing Process]

Since its inception, the People’s Housing Process (PHP) has been fraught with challenges. Provincial and local government struggled to overcome these in the provision of decent, well-planned and sustainable shelter for families who had organized themselves to make use of this housing delivery program. Although many of these challenges have been explored and addressed by the Enhanced People’s Housing Process (EPHP), we continue to learn from communities and organisations involved in PHP.

The case study “Unblocking the Khayelitsha People’s Housing Process” reflects upon the challenges of correcting past mistakes. It offers suggestions and insights regarding how local and provincial government and communities can work together effectively with NGO community resource organisations and the private sector.

DAG has a long and impressive track record in working in partnership with government to deliver affordable housing for the urban poor through its People’s Housing Process (PHP). Please refer to Khayelithsa Case Study below for more information.



Inclusive Neighbourhood Regeneration

[Woodstock and Salt River]

Today, increasing land and property values have in many instances meant that rent control measures are unable to protect the poor and working class tenant. Rent control was introduced in the 1950’s and then adjusted in 1976 to minimise evictions, as tenants would be liable to pay only 8.5 percent of the value of land and improvements. However, when land and property values began increasing even rent control measures became unaffordable. The result has been a growing number of market-led evictions. There has been an increasing case of state evictions from Woodstock and Salt River, particularly from old buildings declared uninhabitable by the state, such as Gympie street. The options available to these households have unfortunately been limited to either a Temporary Relocation Area in Blikkiesdorp or Incremental Development Areas along the N7. There are now cases where these households have returned to the inner city, but left destitute as they now live on the streets.

By working directly with community members, businesses, government officials, academic institutions, and other partners in Woodstock and Salt River, DAG aims to explore a new approach towards inner-city affordable housing that can help expand opportunities for lower-income families and individuals in Woodstock. DAG’s approach capitalises on several efforts already underway to strengthen their work through practical deliverables and outcomes. These include:

In April 2015, Architecture Sans Frontières-UK (AFS-UK), in partnership with DAG and University College of London’s Bartlett Development Planning Unit, hosted a “Change by Design” workshop. Change by Design is a series of international workshops that explore participatory design as a tool for advocacy and socio-spatial transformation. The focus for Cape Town was to explore how inner-city regeneration could be re-imagined as a process that would bring about a more equitable and democratic city. The workshop provided a set of principles designed to allow for a more inclusive regeneration process.

The workshop held over ten days, brought together a diverse group of local and international participants with knowledge in the built environment, policy and planning. The facilitators were associates of ASF-UK, and experts in the field of participation and urban design. The core premise of the workshop was to strengthen and support DAG’s ongoing initiatives. Key members of the inner city affordable housing working group, as well as a number of experts, actors and community members engaged in a series of facilitated roundtables on the final day of the workshop, when DAG hosted 120 people in four concurrent sessions. The event allowed for the participants to first present their findings, after which the invitees and participants framed the way forward as part of a collective strategy.

The key outcomes of the workshop for DAG were:

  • An opportunity to host ongoing platforms and engage CBO/CSOs as key strategic actors around affordable housing issues in Woodstock and Salt River
  • A precinct based planning approach for affordable rental housing in Woodstock in conjunction with other committed stakeholders, which could demonstrate affordable housing options – including, ut not limited to, social housing.
  • Throughout the year, DAG and the National Association of Social Housing Organisations (NASHO) continued discussions around a programmatic approach to affordable housing within the Woodstock and Salt River precinct/neighbourhood. As a result, an agreement was reached between NASHO and DAG to jointly host Josie Adler (founder of the eKhaya Project in Hillbrow). The eKhaya project in Hillbrow is an urban regeneration project that successfully transformed Hillbrow over a ten-year period with little or no ramifications on the traditional, mixed makeup of the neighbourhood.

Demonstrate: Informal Settlement and Backyarder Upgrading

DAG is involved in a number of projects relating to informal settlement and backyarder upgrading
DAG’s practice in this regard is directly related to participatory action planning, data collection, neighbourhood level planning, service delivery and tenure alternatives.


Demonstrate: Unblocking Land for Affordable Housing

[Black River Corridor]

The notion of Mega development projects on urban infill or large precinct re-development projects on greenfield is beginning generate a lot more interest in contemporary debates concerning urban development. The proposed development of a (240 ha) site that is part of the Two River Urban Park is one of the mega project in Cape Town that DAG has been closely following. DAG has particularly made formal submissions to influence the outcome of ongoing process such as the development of the scoping report for the area, the environmental impact assessment and the amendment of the spatial development framework for the site.



DAG has recently acquired a property located in Village 2 North, Khayelitsha, adjacent to Phendula Crescent. Living up to it’s Xhosa translation: ‘Bring hope’, Zanathemba, holds larger socio-spatial integrative potential than may be initially deduced, as shown on the conceptual diagram below. It’s status quo, may lack in many ways, however, with adequate micro and macro-scale urban design, the site would shift from one that resembles exclusion towards that of inclusion. The proposed site consists of 30 units, currently zoned for mixed-use – it holds the ability to transform the lives of many. Though it would have a focus on housing; commercial, retail and public uses would also respond to current issues of the sorrounding areas, it would serve as a socio-economic linkage towards Khayeltisha’s CBD. Although this is a DAG-owned property, the project is very much in its initial phases of development, prior to any building occurs a thorough analysis of the opportunities and constraints are being further investigated.