Category: <span>Human Settlements</span>

Participatory governance central to the success of Garden Route DM’s New Integrated Human Settlements Plan

Media Release: Participatory governance central to the success of Garden Route DM’s New Integrated Human Settlements Plan

For Immediate Release
20 May 2021

The President in the 2019 Presidency Budget Speech (2019) identified the “pattern of operating in silos” as a challenge which led to “to lack of coherence in planning and implementation and has made monitoring and oversight of government’s programme difficult”. The consequence has been non-optimal delivery of services and diminished impact on the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and employment. The President further called for the rolling out of “a new integrated district-based approach to addressing our service delivery challenges and localise procurement and job creation, that promotes and supports local businesses, and that involves communities….” The President is aware that such an approach will require for “National departments to have district-level delivery capacity together with the provinces … provide implementation plans in line with priorities identified in the State of the Nation address”.

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is one of the 48 District Municipalities identified for launching the One Plan strategic initiative. This is supported by the National Development Plan (NDP) and is based on intergovernmental cooperation between the different spheres of public authorities to bring services and developmental programmes closer to the people. This initiative will create an environment where long-term sustainable socio-economic integration in the Garden Route becomes a reality.

According to the GRDM Human Settlements division, “Socio-economic integration in the context of human settlements relates to the review and redress of old spatial planning distortions that ensured historical race-based settlements patterns, which made it difficult to attain long term socio-economic integration”.

“The intent is to pursue and implement, through a collaborative approach, spatial planning reprioritisation in the use of government assets and properties.”

For transformation to happen, a participatory governance and cooperative approach with all stakeholders is needed. In anticipation, the GRDM has met and consulted with national government departments as well as their agencies to prepare and align with this reality. To this end, it has initiated various workshops with all seven (7) local municipalities in the Garden Route to build a common understanding of how best to prepare for this. In addition, it will ensure collective ownership and structured coordination between the different government departments and municipalities in the Garden Route.

The GRDM Human Settlements team presenting to external stakeholders at Knysna Municipality.

Other than redressing the injustices of the past, the needs of low-income households need to be addressed, which is why it is important for long term socio-economic integration to happen. It is for that reason that the Western Cape Provincial Government and Local Government in the Garden Route remains committed to meet the Human Settlements mandate (see the previous article).

The consultative sessions by the GRDM are crucial in enhancing common coherent understanding and commitment to the new housing approach. One of the key discussion points at these sessions is introducing a new Draft GRDM Integrated Human Settlements Plan. This Plan relates primarily to how the housing model and realisation of it in well-located areas, deemed as Priority and Restructuring Zones, will become a reality.

It should be noted that the four targeted catalytic towns of Bitou, Knysna, George and Mossel Bay will be the focal points in the implementation of the new Priority Human Settlement and Housing Development Areas (PHSHDA) as gazetted by the national government. According to the GRDM’s Human Settlements Management team, Ms Shehaam Sims and Mr Joel Mkunqwana: “The Integrated Human Settlements Plan will include targeted development projects and related housing programmes in well-located areas now defined as Priority and Restructuring Zones within the jurisdiction of the Garden Route.”

According to Sims: “At a higher strategic level a myriad of plans need to be integrated, which include the Garden Route Growth and Development Plan, Integrated Development Plans, Spatial Development Frameworks, District Development Plan, South Cape Corridor Development Initiative, Priority Human Settlements and Housing Development Areas and the overall plan – now to be launched as the One Plan.”

“It is a complex process and requires strategic preparation and think-tanks from all corners of the human settlements arena to work together with one common goal in mind,” said Simms.

Mkunqwana says the “Integrated Human Settlements Plan must be guided and align to the goals and objectives of the ‘One Plan’ concept of National Government”. The National and Provincial Governments are both obliged to be other spheres of government partners committed to co-planning, co-budgeting, and co-implementation to make the One Plan a feasible proposition.

All the three spheres of government and their agencies will therefore be guided by the District Development Model (DDM) /Joint District Metro Approach (JDMA) {as defined by the WC Provincial Government}, Priority Human Settlements and Housing Development Areas (PHSHDAs) which will eventuate into the One Plan overall strategic intervention as aligned and guided by the National Development Plan (NDP).

From a human settlements perspective, all these three strategic interventions are geared towards complementing each other towards the eventuality defined as the One Plan strategic concept. The district spaces are seen as focal points of government and private sector investment, with the GRDM expected to play an enabling role towards such a conducive delivery environment.

The GRDM and its’ 7 B Municipalities and government partners and stakeholders have therefore geared themselves for an exciting period of new strategic interventions that will complement efforts to change the lives of targeted low-cost communities for the better.

Editor’s note

The legislative and policy guidelines for integrated human settlements include the following:

  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and Regulations
  • The Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act no. 1 of 1999);
  • The Municipal Systems Act, 2000 (Act no. 32 of 2000);
  • The Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (Act no. 56 of 2003);
  • The Housing Development Agency Act, 2008 (Act no. 23 of 2008);
  • The Housing Act, 1997 (Act no. 107 of 1997) as amended;
  • The Rental Housing Act, 2021The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act 103 of 1977;
  • The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act, 2005 (Act no. 13 of 2005);
  • Municipal by-laws;
  • Social Housing Act, 2009;
  • The Supply Chain Management Policy of the Implementing Agent;
  • The Annual Division of Revenue Act; and
  • The National Human Settlements Policies and Programmes together with the Implementation Guidelines for the Comprehensive Plan for the Development of Sustainable Human Settlements.

Feature image credit: Ryan Kova, Bitou Communications




30 April 2021

Yesterday, Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde and Provincial Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers visited the Mountain View Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP) in Mosselbay, which is currently still under construction. Pursuant to this, Premier Winde and Minister Simmers also visited the Syferfontein IRDP in George.

The Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, said: “As the Western Cape Government, we are committed to creating opportunities for ownership and are driving this through the Department of Human Settlements’ numerous catalytic projects. During our visits to Mountain View project in Mossel Bay and the Syferfontein project in Pacaltsdorp today we had the opportunity to engage with recipients of housing opportunities who have now become home-owners.”

By creating opportunities for ownership, we are enabling residents to accrue assets which not only give them security but can also be leveraged. This ultimately ensures that vulnerable families can start to change the financial circumstances of generations to follow. Ownership must be our aim when creating sustainable human settlements, as it guarantees that we empower residents in the province into the future.”

The Mountain View IRDP which commenced in July 2019 with a budget of R 297 million is estimated to be completed by July 2022. Upon conclusion, it is expected to create 1 006 housing opportunities, which consists of 725 BNG units, 278 FLISP units, 1 Commercial Sites and 2 public open spaces/Playground.

The Syferfontein IRDP in George which has a budget of R 434 million commenced August 2018 and is expected to be concluded later this year. It is set to deliver 2 113 housing opportunities. This will consist of 1 668 Breaking New Ground (BNG)/free housing, 233 FLISP and various other commercial, faith and social entities. To date, 67 qualifying and deserving beneficiaries have already moved in.

Minister Simmers said: “I was happy to witness how quickly the beneficiaries are settling in and how they’re taking ownership of their space. The joy on their faces and general positive feedback serves as encouragement to continue serving our people in this manner.

This also demonstrates the Western Cape Government’s commitment to continue improving the lives of the most vulnerable in our society. It is further pleasing to note how the Syferfontein development is playing its role in integrating our citizens, as people from various backgrounds, creeds, languages, cultures and sexual orientations are now living in one new community.

I’d also like to thank all provincial and municipal officials for ensuring there’s been a swift response from the contractor to address some of the snags reported by beneficiaries. We’re looking forward to the conclusion of both projects so that more people can take ownership of these new opportunities and participate in this lifechanging experience.

As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society.”

Media Enquiries:

Marcellino Martin

Spokesperson for Minister Tertuis Simmers

021 483 3397 (o) / 082 721 3362 (m)


Nathan Adriaanse

Director Communication & Stakeholder Relations

Tell: 021 483 2868 / Mobile: 083 2631720


Joint Media Alert: Historical Agreement to Accelerate Housing Development in the Garden Route


17 February 2021

On Friday 19 February 2021 Western Cape Human Settlements Minister Tertuis Simmers, and Executive Mayor, Ald. Memory Booysen of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), will hold a press briefing to unpack the groundbreaking agreement which was signed between the Department and the District Municipality. The briefing will cover exactly what this agreement entails and what it means practically for housing development within the Garden Route district.

Following engagements between the parties, the Department identified the need for the District Municipality to assist with the planning, development and management of selected human settlement priority projects within the Garden Route region. This covers selected housing projects within the municipal areas of George, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Bitou, Mossel Bay, Hessequa and Kannaland.  Through this initiative, greater commitment and support to these municipalities and, in turn, their respective communities are envisioned.

In line with the Joint District Approach, the agreement essentially seeks to ensure that the various spheres of government and stakeholders work together to accelerate and enhance service delivery within the respective areas. The agreement is the first of its kind in the Western Cape since district municipalities traditionally do not have any housing mandate.

As part of the agreement, and in its commitment to support the GRDM, the Department has funded the appointment of two human settlement practitioners to capacitate the District Municipality.

The various Mayors and Municipal Managers of the region will also be present, along with the Provincial Head of Department of Human Settlements.

Proceedings can also be followed live on Minister Tertuis Simmers’ Facebook page @HumanMinWC.



Date: Friday, 19 February 2021
Time: 10h00
Venue: Garden Route District Municipal Offices – Council Chambers, 1st Floor, 54 York Street George.

Live on Facebook at


Media Enquiries:
Marcellino Martin
Western Cape Human Settlements
Spokesperson for Minister Tertuis Simmers
Tel: 021 483 3397
Mobile: 082 721 3362

Nathan Adriaanse
Western Cape Human Settlements
Director Communication & Stakeholder Relations
Tel: 021 483 2868
Mobile: 083 2631720

Herman Pieters
Garden Route District Municipality
Senior Communication Officer
Tel:  044 803 1419
Mobile: 081 455 5699

News Release: We are one step closer to accreditation to administer human settlements

News Release: We are one step closer to accreditation to administer human settlements

For Immediate Release
5 February 2021

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Council supports the administration’s application for Level One Housing Accreditation. Western Cape Government (WCG) MEC for Human Settlements Tertuis Simmers endorsed the GRDMs request, as his position provides him with the authority to legally delegate such responsibilities to a district municipality.

“We are now one step closer to rolling out the human settlements function on a district level,” said GRDM Executive Mayor Alderman Memory Booysen. According to Booysen, this intervention is aligned with the Joint District Metro Approach. Booysen says that middle income housing and student accommodation are only some of the many proposals to be explored, however each decision will be taken in consultation with local municipalities to ensure that there is not an overlapping of functions. GRDM Council has proactively amended its organogram to accommodate a human settlements function.

GRDM is also pleased to announce the appointment of two officials in this new function, namely Vuyani Mkunqwana and Shehaam Sims, whose salaries are fully funded by the WCG Department of Human Settlements.

According to GRDM Municipal Manager Monde Stratu, “One of the immediate priorities of our human settlements employ is to develop a Housing Sector Master Plan. This plan will be linked to Garden Route Local Government Integrated Development Plans and applicable Spatial Development Frameworks. The housing sector plan will focus on the various typologies of housing schemes, including social housing and gap housing.”

“The intent of developing a responsive housing sector master plan is also to list a database of all land pieces (vacant or built on), be it owned by the GRDM, local municipalities, WCG or National Government sector departments, or the private sector,” said Stratu. He explained that the demand for housing and the preferred type of housing will be considered throughout the process of developing a housing sector master plan. Considerations relating to densifying or optimising current properties will be explored in the process. This process will also link to the regional housing nodes that are already identified by the National Department of Human Settlements.

“We are pleased to be in a formal agreement with the GRDM,” said MEC Simmers. “This is a historical step, as it’s a first of its kind where human settlement managers are located at a district municipality, particularly since the district applied for Level One Municipal Accreditation.”

“With our department now providing the relevant human resources, it ensures that the district has the necessary skills and capacity to effectively be involved in the Housing Subsidy Scheme. I’d like to thank the district for agreeing to assist with the planning, development and management of selected human settlement priority projects. This will go a long way in avoiding unnecessary delays and red tape, and it will ultimately ensure that further human settlements can be established and more housing opportunities be created,” said MEC Simmers.

Brief background of Vuyani Mkhunqwana

Vuyani Mkhunqwana, GRDM Manager: Human Settlements

Vuyani Mkhunqwana has extensive experience in local government and has worked for the City of Cape Town for over 15 years as a Manager: New Housing, and as Acting Director of Housing. He served on the board of the newly established Special Purpose Vehicle or Municipal Social Housing Entity called Cape Town Community Housing Company, previously established in 2000 by the City of Cape Town and its business partner, the National Housing Finance Company (NHFC). During this time he monitored and safeguarded the contractual obligations and interests of the City of Cape Town. He was later appointed as the Executive Director: Social Housing and Community Development by the Communicare Social Housing company, accredited by the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA). This necessitated that he served as a Non-Executive Director of the Board of Communicare until his departure in 2015.

During his employment stint with the City of Cape Town and later Communicare, he represented the latter in the National Social Housing Organisation (NASHO) as a founding member of this independent institution whose primary role was to lobby, market, and be the voice of the social housing sector. This organisation is also a significant role player in the low income rental affordable and social housing market. Later he was appointed as the president and chairman of the same organisation (i.e. NASHO) over three terms covering nine years until 2013.

Before commencing work at GRDM, he was appointed on a contract basis for secondment as a Director of Human Settlements in the Knysna Municipality until 31 January 2021.

Brief background of Shehaam Sims

Shehaam Sims, GRDM Manager: Human Settlements

Shehaam Sims hails from Cape Town where she worked for the City of Cape Town for 35 years holding various positions. Starting as a Civil Engineering draughtsperson, she soon moved to Director: Urbanisation. During this time she was primarily responsible for transversal management to ensure that the various departments in the municipality worked in sync with each other, using resources efficiently and ensuring no duplication or gaps in service delivery. Sims also served as a Councillor for seven years (2006 – 2013), having served as Mayoral Committee member for Community Services, Human Settlements and Utilities (Water, Sanitation, Electricity and Solid Waste Management). Her recent deployment was to Oudtshoorn Municipality where she headed up the Human Settlements Department (2016-2020).