Contractor and Developer Academy

South Africa’s small-scale rental housing sector is thriving in our country’s townships and is now the fastest growing segment of the affordable housing market. Over the past few years, we have witnessed a boom in the number of rental housing units developed by micro-developers in township areas across the city. This sector has historically received very little support from government.

In 2017, DAG incubated the ‘Contractor and Developer Academy’ (CDA), as a social enterprise development programme embedded within DAG, with the aim of capacitating and providing socio-technical support to small-scale developers and emerging contractors. The CDA provides advisory services, targeted training, and direct support to emerging contractors and small-scale developers in order to assist them with providing affordable, well-managed housing.

Over the last 5 years, DAG’s CDA has trained a total of 118 emerging contractors & developers and reached over 400 emerging contractors & developers through information sessions.

What we do

3.2 CDA Contractor support DAG - CDA Photos Part 1-16

The CDA offers customised training, hosts information sessions and provides mentorship to emerging contractors to equip them with the appropriate skills and tools to source, secure and manage projects, successfully operate sustainable businesses and contribute toward job creation. After attending the customised course the trained contractors are able to confidently respond to Requests for Quotation and tenders, bid for and implement small-scale developments and meet SCM requirements.

3.3 CDA Developer Support

The CDA provides customised training to small-scale developers to enable them to implement small to medium density developments at scale. This customised training covers topics like property finance, construction management and building plan permissions.

Developer Support
3.4 CDA Technical Support DAG - CDA Photos Part 1-49

The CDA provides advisory and technical support to small-scale developers to implement small to medium density developments at scale. This includes project management and brokering with credible built environment professionals and finance institutions One of the key outcomes of our advisory support is an improvement in the quality of the developments being built and the creation of sustainable economic opportunities for emerging developers.

technical support

3.5 Regulatory reforms DAG - CDA Awards Event-87

The CDA aims to raise awareness around the crucial role played by small-scale developers and emerging contractors in the delivery of affordable housing, and is therefore involved in numerous activities to support the regulatory reforms needed to scale up the delivery of small-scale rental housing.

Regulatory Reforms


Over 100 emerging contractors have benefited directly from the CDA’s support. This support has in turn resulted in 21 emerging contractors securing other work opportunities in both the public and private sectors, leading to the short-term employment of 121 labourers. Out of the 21 contractors mentioned above, 10 have upgraded from CIDB level 1- 2 and are thus able to tender for projects above R500 000.

Over the last two years the CDA has trained 31 small-scale-developers who are involved in the development of small scale rental housing in Cape Town.
Over the last 5 years the CDA has directly facilitated the implementation of 18 affordable public and private housing projects which yielded 105 housing opportunities that accommodate 259 people in historically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Through the implementation of these projects, over R13 million was contributed to the local economy, from which an estimated 550 individuals benefited directly and indirectly.
In 2022, following years of engagement by DAG with small-scale developers, the Township Developers Forum (TDF) was established, with 98 signed members. The biggest milestone of the CDA’s sustained advocacy in this sector was the City of Cape Town (CoCT) finally establishing a Small-Scale Rental Unit (SSRU) Programme in 2022 to support the Small-Scale Rental Housing Sector (SSRHS) in townships.

Most Significant Change Story

Through (the) CDA Contractor Training, I have acquired several business and leadership skills

I was introduced to appropriate business and project management tools so I can run and grow my construction company effectively, and I have seen so much growth in my business. As our business is growing, we are also seeking to empower other young people, particularly those who are most vulnerable – women living with disabilities. Word Sister Primary co-op has grown its footprint in the construction industry, we now operate across the Cape Metro and beyond and we have diversified the services we provide, tendering for projects from both public and private sectors, and also engaging in joint ventures. We are moving with time – being innovative and responding to the current needs. Our company grew from CIDB 1 to CIDB 2, and upon completing our current projects, we will be moving to CIDB 3. We have secured projects locally, with NFHC, Public Works, and Santech. We are constantly looking for opportunities and in turn, provide employment to local artisans. The CDA has taught me everything I needed to know from administration, managing employees, tendering for work opportunities, scheduling, and keeping a database of artisans. I am now an executive member of SAWIC in the Western Cape, I am always pushing myself to grow as a young leader, and young entrepreneur” Sesona Lali from Word Sister Primary Co-op,
based in Langa, Cape Town.

project Partners