who we are


28 years after the first after the first democratic elections, South Africa’s urban areas remain characterised by rampant structural inequality and poverty based on race and class. Cape Town is no exception. The city faces a distinct lack of well-located and affordable housing opportunities, as well as a lack of serviced land and security of tenure. This is largely a legacy of Apartheid spatial planning, exacerbated by slow progress in housing delivery since 1994, paired with gentrification and market-led displacement. The effects of this are predominantly felt by the urban poor, with the biggest burdens borne by people of colour, and particularly women of colour.

Current Context:

South Africa

  • Over 2.2 million South African households live in abject poverty.
  • 1 in 5 people living in South African cities lives in informality.
  • South African unemployment currently stands at 33,9% (Q2 2022)

Cape Town

  • In 2019, there were over 365 000 people on the City of Cape Town’s housing waiting list.
  • 70% of Cape Town’s citizens cannot afford to live close to economic opportunities and services.
  • Poorer Capetonians spend between 30 and 40 percent of their monthly income on transport alone.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the establishment of a host of new informal settlements across the city – many of which still have no access to basic services or infrastructure.
  • There are currently approximately 14 000 people living on Cape Town’s streets.

About DAG

The Development Action Group (DAG) is a leading non-profit, non-governmental organisation. DAG’s mission is to create, implement and support community-centred development in order to address the economic, social, and spatial inequalities that characterise South African cities. Established in 1986 in response to the injustices of apartheid spatial planning, the organisation’s focus has been responsive to the ever-widening socio-spatial inequalities in South African cities.


Over the past 35 years, DAG has:

  • Unlocked the development of approximately 8000 new affordable housing opportunities
  • Improved security of tenure for around 27 000 people.
  • Provided direct assistance in securing community services to over 100 000 households in over 85 projects.
  • Secured and unlocked R275 million for housing projects.
  • Strengthened the capacity of over 2100 civic leaders, with a focus on women and youth.

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