On Thursday, 29 August 2019, SERI’s Lauren Royston presented at an Upgrading Informal Settlements Policy/Programme Reform workshop hosted by the Department of Human Settlements at the OR Tambo Garden Court hotel in Johannesburg. The 50 workshop participants included representatives from the National Department of Human Settlements, the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), architects, practitioners, NGOs, and community organisations.

The workshop was organised to review the current status of Upgrading Informal Settlement Programme (UISP) implementation and the proposal for the development of an UISP Grant which will consist of funding ring-fenced from the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) and Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) exclusively for informal settlement upgrading.

Royston presented on SERI research publications completed in Marikana informal settlement, Ratanang informal settlement and Siyanda informal settlement which aim to shed light on the more plausible measures that can be taken in order to improve the ways in which informal settlement upgrading is carried out.

She highlighted the key recommendations gleaned from the reports including:

  • Recognising existing norms and practices;
  • Prioritising basic services provision;
  • Attend to non-material needs in participative upgrading processes; and,
  • Build constructive relations with residents.

Royston also discussed tenure security in informal settlement upgrading in the context of urban land reform.

The DHS will produce a draft policy note to guide the UISP Grant in the next year.



  • Download the report on the Ratanang informal settlement here.
  • Download the report on the Marikana informal settlement here.
  • Download the report on the Siyanda informal settlement here.
  • Download the synthesis report here.

ISAR publications