EVENT: Co-creating the future of housing in South Africa

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The urban population in South Africa is currently growing at an unprecedented rate. Due to this phenomenon, city populations grow and rising housing costs are excluding low-income households from the formal housing markets. Informal settlements and long commutes due to urban sprawl and fragmented cities with asymmetric societies have become a reality.

In South Africa, is seems that some of these contemporary challenges raise serious doubts about our capacity to address these issues in a sustainable way. There seems to be a communication gap between the private sector and the government involved in the current approach to housing solutions.The reality is that housing delivery for the poor is driven by the Government Subsidy system which allocates RDP housing for beneficiaries who qualify for the subsidy. Through this process, millions of housing units have been built, but the backlog is growing. The RDP policy address only those who earn within a certain threshold and therefore, qualifying them for subsidy housing. The policy however does not address the needs of those who don’t qualify, due to earnings which are higher than the subsidy criteria. These issues call for a paradigm shift in terms of housing development. This forum aims to act as a platform to investigate the possibilities for incremental housing options in South Africa and ask questions regarding these issues.

The questions are; what are the practical solutions to provide affordable housing? What does low-cost housing look like? Can we create a platform for the private sector and the government to engage and collaborate in a way that can ensure more successful affordable housing options? This forum acts as a way to assess the role professionals and academics can play in finding applicable solutions to the housing crisis facing our country.
The forum will bring some of the raised questions to the table with a curated array of panelists and presenters to investigate possibilities of moving South Africa forward in terms of affordable housing solutions by bridging the gap between the private sector and government.



19:00 : Presentations

19:20 Panel Discussion : What are we trying to achieve?  

Moderator:  Guy Briggs, DHK Architects and Urban Designers

20:00 : Film : A new horizon (1960 Apartheid planning propaganda film)

Break: 30 minutes

20:40 : Presentations

21: 10 : Panel Discussion: How do we deliver? 

Moderator: Andrew Boraine, CEO, Western Cape Economic Development Partnership

21: 50 : Closing remarks

  • Rashiq Fataar, Director, Future Cape Town

Speakers and Panelists


Luyanda Mpahlwa is a Cape Town, based Architect and Urban Designer. He obtained his Masters in Architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. He is the Director of DesignSpaceAfrica and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Science and Technology from the Walter Sisulu University for his contribution and critical thought on innovative technologies and design for social change. 

Guy Briggs_MG_2686

Guy Briggs has been the Head of Urban Design at dhk since 2012, and sits on the dhk design review board. He was previously based in London, where he specialised in urban regeneration, development strategy, and master planning. Guy is a member of UDISA and sits on its steering committee, and he teaches at the University of Cape Town. He has been widely published, and regularly gives public presentations on regeneration, urbanism and sustainability.


Alfredo Brillembourg is a co-founder of  the interdisciplinary design practice Urban-Think Tank. Trained as an architect, his work concerns both theoretical and practical applications within architecture and urban planning. Brillembourg has been a  guest professors at Columbia University, and co-founded the Sustainable Living Urban Model Laboratory (SLUM Lab). He also holds the Chair of Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. Brillembourg operates in many global contexts by creating bridges between first world industry and third world, informal urban areas, he also focuses on the education and development of a new generation of professionals.

Zama 2015

Zama Mgwatyu is a programme coordinator at DAG and is responsible for the Housing & Human Settlements programme, He recently led a team that contributed to DAG delivering 2371 houses in Khayelitsha, as well as associated research and advocacy projects in community driven housing.  Zama has more than 10 years’ experience in co-coordinating and leading on research and advocacy projects related to human settlements and supporting facilitation of active community engagement in all activities. Zama holds an honors Degree in Public Administration from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and is   currently finishing a Masters Degree in Public administration with School of Government from UWC. 

Andrew Boraine_(4) (3)

Andrew Boraine has been involved in South Africa’s local government, urban and economic development and transition processes for the past 38 years, as activist, advisor, negotiator, government planner, city manager, chief executive, facilitator, designer, communicator, writer and photographer. Andrew is CEO of the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP), an organisation that promotes partnering solutions for complex socio-economic development challenges.

Bulelwa MN (2)

Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana is a qualified town planner and the CEO of the Cape Town Partnership (CTP) with extensive experience in managing and coordinating public-private partnerships. Prior to her appointment to the CEO position of the Cape Town Partnership in 2012, Bulelwa worked in a number of senior roles at the Cape Town Partnership, including Deputy CEO and Managing Director since joining the organisation in 2004.


Deon van Zyl holds degrees in architecture, and a master’s degree in Urban Design. His interest lies in Development Facilitation through a multi-disciplinary approach, with specific emphasis on land beneficiation, precinct development and brownfields land remediation and development. He is a director at Alwyn Laubscher & Associates and the sole proprietor of Cue Group Development Facilitation and specialises in land sourcing, development conceptualisation and land beneficiation. In addition, he is also the Chairman of the Western Cape Property Development Forum.

Sizwe Mxobo has been working with CORC for over four years, providing technical support, consulting with the City of Cape Town on service delivery challenges, and assisting informal settlements with development plans and capacity building.  In October 2014, he received  the South African Planning Institute’s (SAPI) Young Planner Award. In 2012, Sizwe project managed the upgrading and re-blocking of Mtshini Wam informal settlement in Cape Town. The project set a precedent for informal settlement upgrading, at local and national level whereby the City of Cape Town used it as a benchmark to deliver a reblocking policy. 


Francesco Orsini is an Italian urbanist based in Medellin. During the city’s reborn known as Social Urbanism, he was part of the team who developed an innovative slum upgrading initiative called Proyecto Urbano Integral, PUI. He also led the Juan Bobo’s Housing Resettlement Project (2008 ONU Habitat Best Practice Award). In 2011 he was Deputy Director of the Strategic Plan BIO2030 for Medellin´s Metropolitan Region. Since 2012 he acted as Head of Consulting for Urbam, the Centre for Urban & Environmental Studies of EAFIT University.


Gavin Silber holds an honours degree in International Affairs and Political Economy from Stellenbosch University. He is a founding member and deputy secretary general of the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and  served as the director of the Social Justice Coalition from 2010 to 2013. Silber also serves as a board member of Ndifuna Ukwazi, an organisation that provides support to social movements and non-governmental organisations in the form of research capacity and legal and strategic advice. He previously worked as a researcher for the Treatment Action Campaign. He has also served in various capacities in other organizations focused on advancing social justice, human rights, and political engagement in South Africa’s poor and working class communities.


Khalied Jacobs is an urban designer in private practice and is a founding member Jakupa Architects and Urban Designers. Khalied’s primary interest is in the humanist ideals of city making and has promoted notions of equity and justice through his work. He is the current chairman of Urban Design Institute of South Africa.

Andy Bolnick

Andy Bolnick set up IKhayalami in 2006, an NGO that focuses on technical innovation for informal settlement upgrading. Andy is an urbanist and development practitioner with 17 years experience conceptualizing and working with urban poor communities.  She has been a driving force pioneering innovative approaches to informal settlement upgrading. In 2011, Andy was awarded an international Ashoka Fellowship.

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