Staff Members

Alicia is the Human Resources Administrator at DAG. Her work focuses on providing administrative support to project staff and programme managers. In addition, she provides HR support to the Executive Director. She is particularly passionate about cultivating a work environment that empowers and motivates employees, while also helping them to realise their full potential within this organisation. She holds a degree in Industrial Psychology and Public Administration from the University of the Western Cape. She enjoys working at DAG, because she believes the organisation provides a platform for continued learning that enables people to grow and learn something new every day.

Alicia Cornelius

Human Resources Administrator

Ashley Howard

Ashley is a Project Officer under the National Land Value Capture Programme at DAG. Her work focuses mainly on public land release for affordable housing, with a particular emphasis on land-based financing and developing land value capture tools to achieve spatial transformation. She holds a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning with a Bachelor’s in Architectural Studies from the University of Cape Town. She believes that housing is key to unlocking economic freedom for the marginalised in South Africa and DAG’s vision and mission as an organisation speaks directly to this goal.

Ashley Howard

Project Officer

Bonisa Mange

Bonisa is a Project Support Officer at DAG who works within the Informal Settlements programme. Her work involves providing administrative support to the Asivikelane Project and elevating the voices of Informal Settlement residents through helping to organise capacity-building workshops and develop media content. Bonisa enjoys her work at DAG because the organisation provides a platform for her to create change within marginalised communities through advocating for access to resources and basic services and fostering collaborative relationships between community members, government officials and other stakeholders. Bonisa holds an Honours Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor's Degree in Politics and Governance and Environmental and Geographical Science (EGS) from the University of Cape Town.

Bonisa Mange

Intern

Chuma is a Project Coordinator at DAG. His work focuses mainly on the Contractor & Developer Academy (CDA) - a social enterprise development programme that focuses on capacitating and providing technical support to emerging contractors and developers in testing innovative housing delivery mechanisms. He holds a National Diploma in Town & Regional Planning from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. To enhance his capability and skills, he also completed a Property Management course and a Housing Finance for Sub-Saharan Africa course at the University of Cape Town. His work experience has made him more sensitive to both construction and urban development challenges and he is passionate about using his skills as tools to foster positive change in the delivery of affordable housing and add value to communities at large.

Chuma Giyose

Project Coordinator

Crystal is a Programme Manager at DAG. She oversees multiple programmes, including: Community capacity building and City-wide Coalitions, Informal Settlements and Inclusive Neighbourhoods. She has a stellar track record, and has successfully launched and managed large scale programs in NGOs for over 25 years. She has coordinated several multi-disciplinary human settlements projects in both the EPHP and Informal Settlement Upgrading spheres from inception to completion. In addition, Crystal has led the implementation of community-prioritised sustainable livelihood initiatives in more than 10 projects in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Crystal’s extensive experience in neighbourhood development, capacity building and strengthening community-based organisations, is indicative of her genuine passion to see people lead their own development. She holds a Bachelor of Social Science in Social Work obtained from the University of Cape Town in 1995.

Crystal West

Programme Manager

esther

Esther Schippers is the Communications and Public Relations Intern for DAG. She works within the communications team, assisting in the creation and management of multimedia content for DAG’s various programmes. She is passionate about women’s issues and holds a BA (Law) degree from Stellenbosch University. She looks forward to collaborating with community role players and making contributions to the stories shared by the organisation.

Esther Schippers

Project Support Officer

Helen is the Programme Director at the Development Action Group. Helen has twenty years of experience in the urban development sector with a focus on affordable housing, neighbourhood regeneration, informal settlement upgrading and Land Value Capture. Her work is driven by a deep commitment to address spatial inequality in cities through innovative partnerships. She is also currently the project lead for the National Programme on Land Value Capture in partnership with the National Treasury Cities Support Programme and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. This project is geared to provide technical support and training to metros. Throughout her career, Helen has been at the forefront of significant evidence-based research and community- based planning projects that have led to policy reforms in inclusionary housing and informal settlement upgrading.

Helen Rourke

Programme Director

Helena works as the Accountant at DAG, taking responsibility for all the accounting functions and needs within the organisation. She has extensive experience working in the NPO Sector, having worked for Credit Union Cooperatives, the People’s Dialogue on Land and Shelter and Shackdwellers International (SDI) in her time. She holds a Diploma in Management Accounting and Finance and enjoys working for DAG because it is an organisation that truly operates with integrity. She believes that while her work is behind the scenes in finance, her role has purpose as she is contributing to DAG’s mission to empower and strengthen communities and to redress the inequalities created by the past.

Helena Davids

Accountant

Kamogelo is a Project Coordinator at DAG. Her work primarily focuses on the Contractor and Developer Academy (CDA) and the Backyard Matters projects. Her responsibilities include enhancing the capabilities of emerging developers and backyard communities to implement their community-driven housing solutions. Kamo has a strong background in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and studied City and Regional Planning at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She is passionate about thinking spatially about justice - not only from a theoretical point of view but also through making use of practical knowledge to lead the development of a more inclusive city.

Kamogelo Shika

Project Coordinator
Kathryn Byrnes

Kathryn Byrnes is a Project Officer at DAG, where she focuses on Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning. She captures the impact of DAG's programmes and projects for monitoring, learning, communications, and funding purposes. She is passionate about the power of stories and bold conversation to build more caring and connected African cities. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Environmental and Geographic Sciences, English Language and Literature and Ocean and Atmosphere Science, and a master's degree in environmental and Geographic Sciences from the University of Cape Town, with a focus on housing access and housing innovations of the urban poor and working class. She is passionate about the power of stories and bold conversation and hopes to be a part of building more caring and connected African cities through her work at DAG.

Kathryn Byrnes

Project Officer

kathy

Kathy currently serves as DAG’s Operations Director. Over the last X years Kathy has played a crucial role in orchestrating systems support changes within DAG’s organisational strategies to respond to the ever-changing external conditions in the urban development sector. She is involved in the management of DAG’s administrative, financial and human resources functions and is responsible for the efficient and effective running of these systems. Throughout DAG’s history, Kathy’s nurturing leadership style has played a key role in the mentorship and development of countless young urban professionals, and she continues to foster a safe, empowering and enabling environment for DAG staff to grow. She has worked in the non-profit sector throughout her working career and is passionate about making a difference in society both personally and professionally. Kathy’s dedication to social justice and meaningful transformation stems from a long history of community activism, and she sees the continuation of this activism through her work at DAG.

Kathy Aranes

Operations Director

Lorenzo is a Project Officer at DAG, who has been working with communities in the Woodstock and Salt River area for many years. His work within DAG’s Inclusive Neighbourhoods programme involves brokering relationships, community facilitation and advocating for caring, people-centered housing solutions, policies and practices. Lorenzo has over 3 years of experience working in the improvement district industry but found his passion working for DAG because of the organisation’s investment in disempowered and marginalised communities. He enjoys his role at DAG because it gives him the opportunity to do important work that brings about real change for people in the inner-city.

Lorenzo Johnson

Project Officer

Ludwe Qosho

Ludwe is a Project Officer at DAG who works in the Informal Settlement’s Programme under the Asivikelane campaign. His work involves fostering advocacy, lobbying and data collection processes that highlight service delivery gaps in informal settlements. His main areas of interest are socio-economic rights, spatial justice, housing development and informal settlement upgrading. Ludwe is currently a PhD Candidate at Stellenbosch University, and he holds a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Cape Town. He started working at DAG as an Intern in 2021 and loves the work that he does because he feels that DAG is working towards creating a just city for all. He particularly appreciates the fact that DAG works towards this goal using a variety of strategies from building relationships with key decision makers to engaging and co-creating collaborative strategies with marginalised communities.

Ludwe Qosho

Project Officer

Moegsien Hendricks is DAG’s Executive Director. His work at the organisation involves leading DAG strategically, managing DAG’s staff, finances and sustainability, and overseeing DAG’s public relations. During his impactful career in urban development he has managed the precedent-setting in-situ incremental upgrading of 20 pilot informal settlement units and has played a leading role in developing and revising organisational visions and theories of change. He holds an Honours degree in Development Planning and a BTech in Town and Regional Planning. Moegsien is deeply passionate about facilitating collaborative processes between diverse stakeholders that lead to the development of comprehensive people-centered solutions to urban development challenges.

Moegsien Hendricks

Executive Director

Nikelwa Maqula

Nikelwa is a Community Facilitator Coordinator for the Asivikelane project at DAG. Her role is to recruit community facilitators (CFs), facilitate engagements, and prepare residents and CFs for Asivikelane Hub meetings. She is also responsible for supporting the Cape Town Hub CFs as they coordinate responses from the Repairs and Maintenance teams and collect data. As a dedicated activist, Nikelwa has gained experience through leading engagements, and organising and mobilising around issues impacting her community. Her unwavering motivation stems from her commitment to rectify the injustices of the past, which have denied millions of people land.

Nikelwa Maqula

Community Facilitator Coordinator

Nosive is a Project Officer at DAG. She joined the organisation in 2021 as an Informal Settlement Support Programme (ISSP) Intern. She later joined the CDA and Backyarders Matters team where she now leads various aspects of the Contractor Training Course and Contractor Support function. Nosive holds an Honours degree in City Planning from the University of Cape Town. She is an advocate for inclusive cities and people-centred development, with a particular interest in marginalized women and children. Nosive envisions cities where women and children feel safe and comfortable to travel, work, and play.

Nosive Ngcawe

Project Officer

Ntombi is a Receptionist and General Assistant at DAG. She is responsible for maintaining our office space, welcoming guests, managing office and event logistics and ensuring that meetings run smoothly. She acts as the face of DAG and sets a high standard of professionalism for DAG staff to follow. Outside of DAG you will find her in the gym, playing netball and attending community meetings.

Ntombi Reshane

General Assistant

Querida is a Researcher at DAG, where she explores and unpacks topics like urban land reform and builds detailed organisational insights on key emerging issues. She is skilled in quantitative and qualitative research, policy analysis, and project impact evaluations. Querida has worked as a researcher at various other institutions where she tracked political, security, socio-economic, infrastructure and retail developments across various African countries. She is passionate about development and has always had a keen interest in a wide range of issues, including but not limited to socio-economic rights, poverty alleviation, inequality, development, gender and civil and political rights. Querida holds a Masters degree in Political Science from Stellenbosch University, and is excited to be working for an organisation that has a rich history and ground-breaking work on urban development and urban land reform.

Querida Saal

Researcher

Ryan Fester

Ryan is a Project Coordinator for DAG’s Inclusive Neighbourhoods programme. His work involves addressing spatial inequalities in neighbourhoods like Woodstock and Salt River by helping marginalised groups access land and affordable housing opportunities. Ryan works with grassroots organisations, government representatives and the private sector to achieve this, and believes in a collaborative approach to neighbourhood development that places people at the center. Ryan holds a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Cape Town, where he is also a guest lecturer and external examiner. He is a 2019 fellow of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Ryan Fester

Project Coordinator

Sharon is a Project Officer at DAG who works within the Community capacity building and City-wide coalitions programme. Her role includes providing socio-technical support to community-based organisations and serving as a part of the team that facilitates the Active Citizens Training Course. She is passionate about placemaking and creating environments of equality for women and girls. She is a graduate from the City Planning (Hons) programme at the University of Cape Town and has a background in architecture. Her previous work experience includes volunteering at the PHA Food and Farming Campaign, where she helped to conceptualise designs of farmlands along the urban edge for subsistence farming to prevent urban encroachment. She enjoys working at DAG because the organisation is value driven and listens to what communities have to say. Working at DAG allows her to further develop her technical skills while putting people and their needs first.

Sharon Ho

Project Support Officer

Sikhona Mbane

Sikhona is a Project Support Officer who works on DAG’s Backyard Matters Project and provides support to the Contractor and Developer training courses. Her work focuses on facilitating engagement between the various stakeholders within the backyard sector and supporting the development and execution of capacity building programs for communities. She recently graduated from Rhodes University with a BA in Politics and International Studies, and she completed DAG’s Active Citizens Training Course in 2023. She is very passionate about community development and believes that being a part of DAG will allow her to work with dispossessed groups and activate their agency.

Sikhona Mbane

Project Support Officer
Vuyisile-Pauli

Vuyisile is a Community Facilitator Coordinator for the Asivikelane project at DAG. His role is to recruit community facilitators (CFs), facilitate engagements between community members and government representatives, and prepare residents and CFs for Asivikelane Hub meetings. Vuyisile also serves as our point person on the ground for the Asivikelane project in Knysna. Vuyisile has 5 years’ experience working within his community in the healthcare and service delivery spheres and also possesses valuable construction expertise. This expertise enables him to assist his community to develop practical solutions for their service delivery challenges.

Vuyisile Pauli

Community Facilitator Coordinator

Vuyokazi Hlwatika

Vuyokazi is a Project Officer for the Community Capacity Building and City-Wide Coalitions programme. Her work includes leading research, lobbying, and partnership development activities within the programme’s projects. She is involved in analysing policies, formulating policy proposals, conducting advocacy work, and supporting the implementation of training programmes. Vuyokazi holds a Master’s degree in Politics, an Honours degree in International Studies (cum laude), and an undergraduate BA degree in Social Dynamics from Stellenbosch University and is a 2023 Futurelect SADC Public Leadership Fellow. She is passionate about co-creating inclusive societies and believes that each project she’s involved in will enable her to do precisely that.

Vuyokazi Hlwatika

Project Officer

Yena is a Finance Administrator at DAG. Her work focuses mainly on providing financial and administrative support to the organisation and its staff. She holds an Advanced Diploma in Internal Auditing from UNISA and has a number of years experience in the accounting and auditing fields. Yena enjoys working at DAG because the organisation’s values resonate with her personal principles and allow her to contribute meaningfully to our nation’s housing and human rights challenges.

Yena Dondashe

Finance Administrator

Zama is a Programme Manager at DAG. Having joined DAG in 2005, Zama has been involved in numerous DAG projects including informal settlement upgrading, ePHP projects and swathes of research projects. Currently, he leads DAG’s People-led Housing Solutions programme, which is made up of the Contractor and Developer Academy (CDA) and the Backyard Matters (BYM) project. As the leader of this programme, Zama has extensive experience liaising with government representatives from different spheres of government, micro-finance institutions operating in the affordable rental space, and a range of other stakeholders including development forums, social movements and community-based organisations. He is an expert facilitator and is invested in empowering active citizens to lead their own development. Zama holds an Honours degree in Public Administration from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) as well as a Diploma in Urban Land Management and Informal Settlement Regularisation from Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Zama Mgwatyu

Programme Manager

Zinzi is the Operations Administrator at DAG. Her work providing administrative support to the DAG team enables the effective and efficient functioning of the organisation and is instrumental when it comes to arranging workshops and events. Zinzi also plays a crucial role when it comes to the safeguarding of the DAG team, ensuring that measures are put in place to protect DAG staff, both when working within communities and within our office spaces. She has cultivated a warm, transparent office culture that empowers staff members to raise issues and work collaboratively for the betterment of our organisation.

Zinzi Gatyeni

Operations Administrator

DAG team values

APPRECIATION & RESPECT

Mutual respect and diversity are valued; we appreciate each person’s unique role within DAG and acknowledge each other’s contributions. We support, inspire and celebrate one another’s accomplishments.

Balance

The principles of integration and sustainability resonate with us; we value living balanced lives by nurturing all of our dimensions- the physical, intellectual, spiritual, social and emotional.

 

CONTINUOUS LEARNING

We value learning and are open to new ideas and possibilities. By constantly developing our skills, knowledge and abilities, we strive to learn new things from each other through reflecting on and sharing our experiences.

INTEGRITY

As a value-driven organisation, we uphold honesty and achieve excellence in our work by drawing on our diversity and different strengths to constantly improve our standards.

OPEN & HONEST COMMUNICATION

We value and practice honest communication and foster an environment in which each person is comfortable to communicate openly.We nurture our relationships, listen, provide constructive feedback, and are bold enough to reflect honestly on our work and our actions.

TEAMWORK

Interdependence and teamwork are critical to the success of our work.We build our strength as a team by building trust, respecting one another, supporting each other’s goals and by being accountable.