Limited development finance is a global constraint in addressing poverty and inequality. In particular, South African cities are facing shrinking financial base and questioning the effectiveness of public finance investments in addressing inequality. Despite government investing billions towards integrating communities, housing & land provision, transport & infrastructure services, South African cities and towns continue to be plagued with rampant poverty with stark divisions across race and class; as a consequence, reinforcing the historical apartheid spatial form. DAG’s programme on ‘Financing a Just City’ attempts to influence the flow and impact of financial resources on building a just and equitable city. The focus of the programme is twofold- addressing how citizens and civic networks can influence public sector budgeting processes. This aims to align public sector investments in line with the needs of citizens.; secondly to recover property value created through public infrastructure investments. As land and housing become increasingly unaffordable for the poor and working class – land value capture advocates for policies supporting inclusion and affordability.

Land value capture

Over the last decade, DAG has been a central advocate for land value capture in South Africa. Land Value Capture is a process of local government recouping unearned land value increments, created through public investments.

DAG’s approach has been to support local government in recouping this unearned land value and investing it towards poverty, inequality and redress. Our strategy has been twofold- sustained dialogue and community of practice both at the local and national level in order to advocate for policy reform; and capacitating civil society and sustaining public pressure towards better management of land speculation and exclusion. Over the years, DAG has generated and strengthened a wide network of practitioners, social movements, civil society organisations, property developers, local authorities to debate and discuss various land value capture tools and instruments. The Land Value Capture is in partnership with Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, that have provided various forms of support towards DAG’s advocacy.

Read more on DAG’s work on Inclusionary Housing…

Read more on DAG’s work on Land Value Capture tools and instruments (list of resources- publications, presentation, research papers, videos, archival work)

Influencing public sector budgeting

Most households and civic organisations in South Africa have expressed concerns on poor public participation on the municipal budgeting processes. The current municipal budget processes and outcomes have been best described in recent articles, as a tale of two cities- one for the affluent areas and the other for the poor households living on the periphery.

DAG’s main objective is to strengthen civil society organisations, social movements and active citizens to participate and influence municipal budgeting processes.

Read more on DAG’s work with Mitchells Plain United Residents Association (MURA) on influencing public sector budgeting

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