Promising Practices: A Guide on Incrementally Securing Tenure in Southern Africa

Urban LandMark's Tenure Security Facility Southern Africa project, supported by Cities Alliance and with co-funding from UKaid by the Department for International Development (DFID) in 2012 and 2013 provided technical assistance and advisory services on incrementally securing tenure in slum upgrading in the region.

The work aimed to contribute to improved access to land for poorer people, which in turn contributes to improved livelihoods, active citizenship and asset creation.

The project investigated appropriate mechanisms to incrementally increase tenure security for households living in informal circumstances in slums / informal settlements by providing advisory services in six sites in Southern Africa where the Tenure Security Facility project has developed partnerships, some over several years:

  • In Angola with Development Workshop, an NGO based in Luanda
  • In Maputo, Mozambique with ANAMM, the national association of municipalities, and with the Cities Alliance Country Programme there
  • In Lilongwe, Malawi with the Centre for Community Organisation and Development (CCODE), an NGO which works to link active poor communities with governments and local authorities to facilitate dialogue and solutions to meet their basic needs
  • In eMalahleni, South Africa with Planact, an NGO working with an informal settlement community in Springvalley
  • In Cape Town, South Africa with Sun Development Services, which works for the City of Cape Town in piloting upgrading in five informal settlements
  • In Johannesburg, South Africa where Urban LandMark has provided support over several years to the city's regularisation programme.

While the six sites all have different contexts and the technical advice offered varied, in all six sites some element of official recognition of tenure was addressed, along a continuum from insecure to more secure tenure.

The lessons learnt and experiences gained have informed the development of a practical regional booklet on incrementally securing tenure. The regional booklet is intended to provide guidance to practitioners, officials and communities who are involved in incremental tenure processes in informal settlements. It aims to provide solid, practical advice on particular aspects of tenure security, but also deal with the different aspects of the overall approach to incrementally securing tenure in informal settlement upgrading processes. The regional booklet detail appropriate and regionally applicable means, which include both legal and administrative mechanisms to incrementally securing tenure.