Staff

Akhona Siswana
Akhona Siswana

Having joined DAG as a finance person, I’ve found the switch to project work fulfilling. I learn a lot on a daily basis from every “Daggie”, from our community partners and from other stakeholders

Akhona works as a Project Coordinator for the Active Citizens Training Course and Socio Technical Support Projects. He oversees project progress and identifies strategic opportunities for DAG whilst also implementing the projects on the ground. His niche lies in community organizing and building the capacity of leaders in underprivileged communities to advocate for their community issues. Akhona joined DAG in August 2011 as a Finance Administrator. In 2013, he developed an interest in doing project work and gradually began leading beneficiary meetings, doing stakeholder mapping and later led in leadership capacity building initiatives. Over the years he has been exposed to numerous DAG projects including informal settlement upgrading projects, ePHP projects and participatory research projects. Akhona has  extensive experience in liaising with government officials, community-based organisations, social movements, and other NGO’s, and is passionate about building partnerships and enabling agency.

Alicia Cornelius
Alicia Cornelius

“We rise by lifting others." Working at DAG provides a platform to create a positive change in the lives of disadvantaged communities.

Alicia is the Human Resources Administrator at DAG. Her work mainly focuses on providing administrative support to project staff and programme managers. In addition, she provides HR support to the Executive Director. She is particularly interested in cultivating a work environment that empowers and motivates employees in an attempt to help them realize their full potential and how it fits into the growth of the 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 enable people to grow and learn something new every day.

Anna du Plessis
Anna du Plessis

Working at DAG makes me feel like I have a chance to bring my values into everything I do. I feel motivated, challenged, and heard here.

Anna is a Project Support Officer at DAG, where she focuses mainly on Monitoring, Evaluation and Communications. She is particularly interested in using DAG’s platform to amplify the voices of community partners. Anna is passionate about urban land reform, advocating for a more integrated and spatially just city, and the use of participatory planning processes in shaping cities. She holds a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Cape Town and has a background in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She cares deeply about justice and is excited to be working for an organisation with such a deep commitment to transformation and change.

Chuma Giyose
Chuma Giyose

I enjoy being part of an organisation that not only influences policies, but also remains rooted at the grassroots level.

Chuma Giyose is a Project Coordinator for 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 completed a Property Management course and a Housing Finance for Sub-Saharan Africa course from the University of Cape Town. His work experience has made him more sensitive to both construction and urban development challenges. He is passionate about using his skills as tools to enact positive change in the delivery of affordable housing as well as to add value to communities at large.

Claudia Hitzeroth
Claudia Hitzeroth

Working at DAG means I can contribute toward the systemic change we need to create more equitable cities.

Claudia is a Project Officer at DAG. Her work focuses on institutionalising relevant land-based financing and land value capture strategies in South African metropolitan cities. She is particularly interested in the use of Land Value Capture as a funding mechanism for spatial transformation and inclusion.  She holds a Masters degree in Sustainable Urban Development from the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL, and a BSc in Environmental Sciences from University of Cape Town. Working at DAG excites her because it is an opportunity to continually learn and unlearn every day, as well being a way to action her passion for spatial justice.

Crystal West
Crystal West

I am blessed to be able to fulfill my purpose and live my passion on a daily basis. DAG enables me to earn a living while doing so!

Crystal is a Programme Manager at DAG. She is responsible for the “Re-imagining Neighbourhoods” programmatic area, which includes DAG’s Informal Settlement Upgrading Projects, Active Citizen’s Training Course, Socio-Technical Support, Woodstock / Salt River and Asivikelane WC projects. She has a track record of more than 25 years of successfully launching and managing large scale programs in NGOs. She has successfully coordinated several multi-disciplinary human settlements projects in both EPHP and Informal Settlement Upgrading from inception to successful completion. In addition, Crystal has led the implementation of community prioritized 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 development relating to human settlements and strengthening community-based organizations, 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.

Helen Rourke
Helen Rourke

DAG's innovative work on inclusive cities, the passion and dedication of the DAG team, and our dynamic community partners inspire me daily to work in service.

Helen is a Programme Director at the Development Action Group. Helen has over seventeen years of experience in the urban development sector. She is the current project lead for a National Programme on Land Value Capture in partnership with the National Treasury Cities Support Programme and Lincoln Institute of Land Policy geared to providing technical support and training to metros. Over the last five years Helen has worked in partnership with the City of Cape Town and local civics around neighbourhood regeneration and social housing in the inner city which has resulted in the delivery of the first transitional housing project in Cape Town. She has extensive expertise in informal settlement upgrading and regularisation, including the coordination of the NUSP socio-technical assistance to the City of Cape Town for 32 informal settlements and pioneered the Hangberg in situ upgrade in 2008.

Helena Davids
Helena Davids

Working for DAG has me experience working for a purpose and making a difference.

Helena works as the Accountant at DAG, taking responsibility for all the accounting functions and needs of 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 in her time. She holds a Diploma in Management Accounting & Finance, as well as Accounting and Business economics subjects completed through UNISA. Helena enjoys working for DAG because as an organization it 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 imbalances created by the past.

Kamogelo Shika
Kamogelo Shika

I enjoy working for DAG because it’s an organization that offers a wide variety of opportunities, ranging from building relationships with key decision-makers, to engaging and co-creating collaborative strategies with historically marginalized communities.

Kamogelo is a Project Officer at DAG. In her time at the organisation, her main focus has been on the Contractor and Developer Academy (CDA) and the Backyard Matters projects. Her role entails strengthening the capacity of emerging developers in the implementation and management of affordable rental housing. 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 using practical knowledge to lead to effective actions and to achieve a more inclusive city.

Kathy Aranes
Executive Director
Kathy Aranes
Executive Director

DAG’s “people-centred approach” is what drives me on a daily basis. This links to the alignment of DAG’s collaborative and participatory approaches with my personal values and that of my colleagues.

Kathy has been the Executive Director at DAG since September 2021. She previously held the Operations Director position and her major role in DAG over the past 18 years has been ensuring systems support changes in organisational strategies to adequately respond to the ever-changing external conditions in the urban development sector. 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.

Kundai Nyamutenha
Kundai Nyamutenha

Umuntu ngu muntu ngabantu - I am because we are. DAG's values and approach to development allow me to live out this motto. 

Kundai is the Communication Officer at DAG. She is a seasoned communications practitioner with over 10 years experience working in the NGO sector. She studied Communication Science as well as Communications and Journalism. Kundai is passionate about community development and sharing community stories. She uses her skills in media and communications to amplify the voice of the community as well as highlight the impact that people are making in their communities. Kundai is also passionate about women and young people’s rights, participation and inclusion in all development processes. She is currently studying towards her PGDipMan in Marketing at  the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Lorenzo Johnson
Lorenzo Johnson

Working for DAG empowers me to make an impact in the communities I work and live in.

Lorenzo is a Project Officer at DAG, who has been working with communities in the Woodstock Salt River area for over 2 years. His work as an organizer involves brokering of relationships and community facilitation, amongst other things. He has over 3 years of experience working in the improvement district industry. Lorenzo enjoys working for DAG because the organisation is passionate about supporting disempowered communities. He enjoys his role at DAG because it gives him the opportunity to do what he is passionate about and that is working in the inner city and disadvantaged communities.

Ludwe Qosho
Ludwe Qosho

DAG is not just a workplace. It’s a home away from home because of its conducive working environment, with brilliant minds in the organisation that are guided DAG’s principles.

Ludwe is a Project Support Officer at DAG, working on the Asivikelane and Socio-Technical Support project. His role entails being on the ground and working with communities, where his main areas of interest are socio-economic rights, spatial justice, housing development and informal settlement upgrading. Ludwe holds a Masters degree in City and Regional Planning and is a 2021 Golden Key member from the University of Cape Town. He started working at DAG as an Intern in 2021,  and is now a Project Support Officer. He loves the work that he  does because he feels that DAG is working towards creating a just city for all through various programmes ranging from building relationships with key decision makers to engaging and co-creating collaborative strategies with marginalised communities.

Mkholisi Sompeta
Mkholisi Sompeta

I enjoy working at DAG because of its values, broad stakeholder connection and zeal to drive developmental action that empowers communities.

Mkholisi is an Intern for DAG’s Land Value Capture project. His role entails supporting the LVC team with research, policy analysis, advocacy work and with the running of training programmes and workshops, among other functions. He sees being exposed to the Land Value Capture concept and various associated tools, especially regarding Inclusionary Housing, as one of his most recent professional achievements. He currently holds a BSSc in Housing from UKZN, and is working towards completing his Masters in Town and Regional Planning. Before joining DAG, he spent a year working as a graduate Administrative Officer in Immovable Assets Registry and in the Disposal unit for the National Department of Public Works & Infrastructure in the Cape Town Regional Office. As an advocate of change with great passion for inclusive cities and people-centred development, he aspires to inspire and to be inspired by greatness before his time expires.

Nosive Ngcawe
Nosive Ngcawe

There is lots of room for growth at DAG, both professionally and personally.

Nosive is a Project Support Officer at DAG. She joined the organization in 2021 as an Informal Settlement Support Programme (ISSP) Intern. She later joined the CDA and Backyarders Matters team where she now provides project support. 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 particular interest on the marginalized women and children. Nosive envisions cities where women and children feel safe and comfortable to travel, work, and play. Since joining DAG, Nosive has grown enormously as a young built environment professional.

Ntombi Reshane
Ntombi Reshane

Ntombi is a General Assistant at DAG. She is responsible for maintaining our office space, welcoming guests, managing logistics and ensuring that meetings run smoothly. Outside of DAG you will find her in Gym, playing Netball and attending community meetings.

Querida Saal
Querida Saal

Maya Angelou said, “If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” I cannot imagine living in a world like ours and not do anything to try and change it for the better. This is one of the reasons why I value the work we do at DAG. We are pooling our collective efforts to build a better tomorrow for everyone.

Querida is a Researcher at DAG, where she researches urban land reform and other pertinent issues. Que is skilled in quantitative and qualitative research, policy analysis, and project impact evaluations. She has worked as a researcher at various institutions where she tracked the 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. She 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.

Ryan Fester
Ryan Fester

I feel that DAG is an important role-player in the realisation of citizens’ constitutional rights to access land and housing opportunities.

Ryan Fester is a Project Coordinator at the Development Action Group, focusing mainly on projects in Woodstock, Salt River and Mitchells Plain. His work involves leading projects for international donors with the objective of addressing spatial inequalities by helping marginalised communities access land and affordable housing opportunities. Working with grassroots organisations, the government, and the private sector, he believes in a collaborative approach to neighborhood development that places people at the center of their own development. 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.

Sharon Ho
Sharon Ho

DAG is all about developing for the better - not just developing our cities, but also developing oneself - to help build a better society.

Sharon is an intern at DAG and assists with ​socio-technical support to community-based organisations. She is passionate about placemaking and creating gender equal environments for women and girls. She is a graduate from City Planning (Hons) at 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 attends to what the communities have to say. This allows her to develop her skills while putting people first.

Willard Matiashe
Willard Matiashe

Making a positive contribution to the urban policy making processes and the overall development practice in our society is a cause that I am most passionate about and one of the reasons why I enjoy working at DAG.

Willard is a researcher and urban land specialist at DAG. He has extensive experience and understanding of spatial planning, informal settlement upgrading, urban land use management, and land-based financing to support local government programs and processes. Currently, Willard is the project leader of a program on Land Value Capture that was initiated by a tripartite partnership between the Development Action Group (DAG), the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the National Treasury’s Cities Support Programme (CSP). He draws on his interdisciplinary background and experience to tackle tough challenges that cities and communities face, from resource scarcity and infrastructure pressures to the impact of land use development practice on society. Willard holds a master’s degree in Spatial Planning from University of Aberdeen (UK) and is also pursuing PhD studies with the School of Economics and Management Sciences at the University of Pretoria. He thoroughly enjoys working in highly dynamic and creative environments and is excited to be part of an organisation that is making positive impact on marginalised and dispossessed communities.

Zama Mgwatyu
Zama Mgwatyu

Working for DAG makes me feel like I am upholding the constitutional mandate of bettering the lives of previously disempowered citizens.

Zama is a Programme Manager at DAG. Having joined DAG in 2005, Zama has been involved in numerous DAG projects including informal settlement upgrading projects, ePHP projects and swathes of research projects. Currently, he leads DAG’s programmatic area called the Contractor and Developer Academy (CDA), which seeks to capacitate and mentor emerging contractors and micro developers who are playing a crucial role in the implementation of affordable rental in township areas. As the leader of CDA, 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 building the capacity of citizens to activate their own change. Zama holds an honours degree in Public Administration from UWC as well as a Diploma in Urban Land Management and Informal Settlement Regularisation from Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands. He also has a certificate in Housing Policy Development and Management with Wits University and a certificate in Housing Finance Course for Sub-Saharan Africa with UCT Graduate School of Business.

Zinzi Gatyeni
Zinzi Gatyeni

I love working at DAG because of the organisation's vision and mission, which focuses on supporting and implementing community housing projects and development while also building people's skills.

Zinzi is DAG's Administrator. She is responsible for providing office and administrative support to the DAG team in order to enable effective running of the organisation. Her role is instrumental in the organisation of workshops, logistics, and the day-to-day operations of the organisation. She assists with a variety of projects and office activities. Zinzi is a loving and caring person who places high value on work and family, and cares deeply about community development.

INTERNS

Friends of DAG

Jim Duke

Thank you for your upload