Informal Settlement Support Programme (ISSP) for the Western Cape | Western Cape Government

Informal Settlement Support Programme (ISSP) for the Western Cape

Guided by the Western Cape Government’s Provincial Strategic Goal (ie. PSG 4) to “enable a resilient, sustainable, quality and inclusive living environment”, the WCDHS has developed an Informal Settlement Strategic Framework (ISSF) strategy document entitled ‘From Precarious Settlements to Dignified Neighbourhoods’.

The purpose of the ISSF is to act as the foundation for effective prioritisation, planning, implementation and maintenance of interventions in informal settlements. In collaboration with informal settlement communities, it seeks to assist municipal officials to co-create and design tenure, services and shelter options that speak to the different types of informal settlements. This ISSF aims to simplify the concept of incremental upgrading and make it more practical to implement various solution.

The vision is to improve the quality of life of informal settlement dwellers by enabling access to public infrastructure, finance, land, tenure, economic opportunities and incremental housing opportunities through an innovative, people-centred and partnership-based approach.

Rapid urbanization and natural population growth have thwarted government's ambitions to eradicate informal settlements in the country. In the Western Cape Province, migration from other provinces and countries also contribute to the ongoing shifts and changes in demands for public services and shelter.

A growing number of people in the Western Cape who are unable to afford formal housing opportunities live in informal settlements and/or informal housing arrangements. For example, while in 2001 only one in seven households in the Western Cape lived in informal settlements or backyard dwellings, by 2011, this number had increased to one in six households.

Their living conditions are precarious, with limited or no access to security of tenure, services, environmental safety and legal security. Despite previous convictions, the trends illustrate that informal settlements are becoming a permanent feature of the provincial landscape and cannot be eradicated in a short space of time and within the funding stream and capacity at Government’s disposal.

The Western Cape Department of Human Settlements (WCDHS) is rather of the view that we should embrace informal settlements rather than wish them away.

Informal settlements Support Programme Airport Precinct

Informal settlements Support Programme Airport Precinct

The development of the ISSP is therefore based on an acknowledgement that:

  1. Informal settlements are a more enduring feature of the provincial landscape than generally appreciated;
  2. Non-state actors (the private sector and NGOs) are inadequately utilised in responding more effectively to informality.

As part of the framework, various materials have been developed which include the following:

  • Informal Settlement Support Plan (ISSP) - specifying design and tenure options, as well as issues related to categorisation and prioritization
  • A Rapid Appraisal of 106 informal settlements in non-metro areas (research findings of various informal settlements)
  • An Implementation Plan - outlining actions, roles, responsibilities and implementation timeframes
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Framework - determining results and indicators
The Department, in partnership with a service provider, has developed various marketing materials that can be utilized to bring awareness and explain the Informal Settlement Support Programme to various audiences. All marketing material is available in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa and includes:

Informal Settlement Support Programme Logo

Informal Settlement Support Programme Logo
As Government, we cannot achieve the vision of the ISSP alone. To this end, the WCDHS, we would like to partner and collaborate with private entities (ie. NGO’s, CBO etc.) in order to achieve the vision of improving the quality of life of informal settlement dwellers. You are invited to browse the related material and assess where you may be able to partner and/or collaborate with Government toward achieving this vision.

The information contained in the documents cover the strategic and detailed settlement context that is expected to assist all stakeholders involved in identification, planning and packaging of interventions to the informal settlements in an integrated fashion.

For more information or any queries regarding the Informal Settlement Support Programme please email

Contents: Informal Settlement Support Programme (ISSP) for the Western Cape
The content on this page was last updated on 16 May 2022