Sustainable Settlements2022-11-10T07:08:53+00:00

Sustainable Settlements

The purpose of the programme is to ensure that low-income households have access to appropriate and secure land for settlement development. The aim is to ensure that well-located land for settlement development is made available timeously and affordably and that municipalities are planning for and supporting low-income settlement development interventions.

Active projects

Click the button to find out more about upgrading of informal settlements.

Upgrading of Informal Settlements

Afesis-corplan has been involved and undertaken various Social Audits.

Click here for further information on these Social Audits.

Consultancies and Special Projects

The National Development Agency (NDA) is an agency of government established through an Act of Parliament under the Department of Social Development to contribute towards poverty eradication through strengthening civil society organisations (CSOs). As part of its processes of building the capacity of CSOs, the NDA contracted Afesis-corplan to render training to a number of organisations across the Eastern Cape Province on the following topics:

  • Financial Management & Basic Book keeping
  • Conflict Management
  • Project Management
  • NPO Governance
  • Managing Projects
  • Sustainable organisations
  • Communication skills for managers

This project was in line with Afesis-corplan’s strategic goal of contributing to building a stronger civil society in the Eastern Cape Province.

Afesis-corplan in partnership with the Mvezo Development Trust submitted a proposal to the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund to construct an Interpretative Centre in Mvezo, the birth place of former President Nelson Mandela. The purpose of the Interpretative Centre is to preserve the legacy and cultural richness of the Aba Thembu people.

The project had two phases where phase 1 was the construction of the Interpretative Centre (the museum) which was concluded and duly opened by the Honourable President Jacob Zuma on 18 July 2014. The second phase of the project comprised of the construction of the Welcome Centre. This phase of the project commenced in January 2017 and is still underway.

In June 2018 Afesis-corplan was contracted by the Chris Hani Development Agency (CHDA) to take on the role of social facilitator in the irrigation schemes revitalisation programme in and around the Qamata area. As part of the Social Facilitation process these are some of the expected outcomes:

  • Development of relevant institutional and governance mechanisms, where none exist. In cases where these exist, develop how these could be strengthened in a manner that promotes and creates a conducive environment for investment. These should be aligned and linked to project sustainability.
  • Development of shared vision where none exists.
  • Develop a social compact with relevant communities and stakeholders including municipalities.
  • Develop a map of local resources and assets including existing community networks.
  • Provide general facilitation support to ensure community buy-in in the implementation of CHDA projects.
  • Conduct assessments of the relevant business plans and determine feasible employment opportunities and match these with the skills profile of the affected communities.
  • Manage community expectations relating to employment opportunities that are to be derived from the initiatives.

In January 2018  Afesis-corplan was contracted by the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA) to develop a social charter and to conduct household survey to assist and strengthen the Rural Enterprise Development Hubs carried out in 12 villages around East London. The project aimed to give support to rural communities and to facilitate rural development in the province by:

  • Mobilising financial and supportive services to cooperatives, ordinarily resident to do business;
  • Promoting and encouraging private sector investment in the province and the participation of the private sector in contributing to economic growth and encouraging the development of rural spaces.

Past Projects

Managed Land Settlement (MLS) is a pro-poor approach to incremental settlement development that emphasises the provision of planned secure land with basic services as a first step towards a longer-term housing and settlement upgrading process. MLS can be contrasted with most existing settlement development programmes of government that focuses on the immediate provision of a complete full house as part of a fully planned and serviced project. MLS provides an additional entry point for the homeless to access land and housing that does not rely on land occupation or waiting for government to provide a fully packaged RDP house.

Click here to read much more on Managed Land Settlement

This article is drawn from an external review conducted in late 2012 by Mike Kenyon on Afesis-corplan’s land access work.

“Since 1994, more than 2.3 million housing units have been made available for nearly 11 million people. The scale of government housing delivery is second only to China, as the Banking Association of South Africa has pointed out (DHS, 2010). However, the housing backlog has grown in leaps and bounds from 1.5 million in 1994 and now stands at approximately 2.1 million.”

Click here to read more. 

In 20014-2015 Afesis-corplan, in partnership with CS Consulting, Bigen Africa and others, as part of a National Upgrading of Informal Settlement (NUSP) funded project, assisted the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality to develop, using participatory methods, an Upgrading of Informal Settlement Policy and Strategy and upgrading plans for 32 informal settlements.  See here  for more information on this project.

Afesis-corplan is one of only a handful of organisations that has been involved in the development and promotion of housing co-operatives in South Africa.  From 1998 to 2008, with the support of the Swedish Co-operative Centre, we conceptualised, planned, piloted and advocated for housing cooperatives.  Afesis-corplan, working closely with the East London Housing Management Co-operative, the Buffalo City Municipality, the Provincial Department of Housing and others developed one of the few housing co-operatives projects in South Africa (in Amalinda, a suburb of East London) that combines government’s Institutional Subsidies with the Peoples’ Housing Process Subsidy.  For more information on housing co-operatives and Afesis-corplan’s housing cooperative experience see information on Housing Cooperatives.

More Programme Information

For more information on one of Afesis-corplan’s initiatives please visit our incremental settlement website.

Incremental settlement is a pro poor approach to settlement development that is being promoted and advocated for by Afesis-corplan.

Incremental settlement is the process by which legally recognised settlements are created over time in an incremental manner through the involvement and actions of a range of role-players including government, communities and the private sector. It includes the development of such settlements from:

  • an in-situ context where people have already occupied the land in an illegal manner and the area is then formalised and upgraded over time (This is called upgrading of informal settlements UIS); as well as
  • greenfield context where the land is undeveloped and the area is prepared for future settlement and upgraded over time (this is called Managed Land Settlement – MLS).
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Learning Briefs and Publications

Lessons Learned and Learning Brief Index


The Sustainable Settlements Programme has produced numerous documents and made a number of policy submissions over the years.  The following are examples of some of these documents and reports.

News from Sustainable Settlements

Afesis-corplan comments on BCMM SDF

Afesis-corplan submitted comments on the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality’s (BCMM) draft Spatial Development Framework (SDF) which was gazetted on 14 [...]

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