EDP Programmes

Adaptive governance

Stepping into action while embracing and adapting to uncertainty lies at the heart of the practice of adaptive governance. The EDP brings a multidisciplinary approach to designing and implementing adaptive governance frameworks within government and across sectors. This includes an emphasis on systems thinking, embedding collaborative behaviours and promoting adaptive learning practices that drive continual innovation. 

City of Cape Town guidelines for Partnership Organisations

The City of Cape Town has a long history of working with Partnership Organisations, with valuable urban regeneration and economic development gains made by the Greater Tygerberg Partnership, Hout Bay Partnership and the former Cape Town Partnership, among others.

In 2022, the EDP supported the City to capture this valuable institutional knowledge in a framework that outlines the City’s approach to Partnership Organisations in relation to partnership entities. The methodology is being piloted in Strand before wider rollout in the City.

Stakeholder Engagement for City of Cape Town’s Spatial Planning and Environment Directorate

The City of Cape Town has an extensive history of working with relevant stakeholders to further its Integrated Development Plan mandate and objectives. The City’s Spatial Planning and Environment Directorate aims to reinforce a systematic, coherent and constructive approach to engaging with its stakeholder network to support long-term, sustainable growth. The EDP is assisting in the development of a Stakeholder Engagement Framework and updated City of Cape Town Partnering Toolkit to support the Spatial Planning and Environment Directorate and other City Directorates in their stakeholder relations.

Partnering processes for the Stellenbosch Corridor development

The Stellenbosch Corridor – also known as the Adam Tas Corridor – which comprises around 400 hectares along two intersecting transport routes near Stellenbosch has the potential to integrate much-needed affordable housing, public space, schools and non-motorised transport along a major transport spine yet is currently underutilised. The EDP is convening a partnering process on request from the Western Cape Government and Stellenbosch Municipality to develop a governance framework and promote partnering arrangements to support the implementation of the corridor.


Wellbeing Economy

A wellbeing economy recognises that the ultimate goal of economic development is enhanced social and ecological wellbeing. South Africa remains the world’s most unequal country with limited success in GDP growth seen over the last decade. The southern African region also faces some of the worst climate change risks, including widespread droughts, flooding and mass migration. The EDP enables partnerships across government and society in support of an economy which enables all citizens to thrive.

Western Cape Safety Programme: Keeping communities safe

The Western Cape Safety Programme uses a public health approach to safety, with a focus on preventing violence by identifying and addressing its underlying causes. The programme merges law enforcement and violence prevention under an integrated programme which is delivered by Area Based Teams (ABTs) established in the most crime affected areas.

Having developed the conceptual framework for the ABT approach, the EDP will continue to develop and support its joint implementation in 2022.

Garden Route Development Partnership: Promoting development in the Garden Route

Previously known as the South Cape Economic Partnership (SCEP), the Garden Route Development Partnership (GRDP) is a platform facilitated by the EDP that brings together key public sector, private sector and civil society role players in the Garden Route District to collaborate meaningfully around key priorities for the region. Specifically, the GRDP supports the implementation of the Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy (and the associated Recovery Plan) developed by the EDP and adopted by the District Council in 2021. The EDP provides backbone support and capacitates partners towards effective collaboration. Lessons learned from the unique GRDP structure will be shared to promote regional collaborative solutions for sustainable socio-economic development.

Supporting the manufacturing sector in Cape Town

The COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns have had a significant impact on the manufacturing sector in the Western Cape. A City-led programme established with the EDP in 2019 to support the manufacturing sector has pivoted towards supporting the establishment of the Cape Town Growth Coalition, launched in August 2022 as part of the City’s updated Inclusive Economic Growth Strategy to enable partnerships with the private sector across different industries.

The EDP is supporting the City’s Enterprise and Investment Unit to design and manage the Food and Beverage Sector Growth Coalition Platform as the initial pilot. The Growth Coalition Platforms entail structured interactions between industry stakeholders to help promote the right conditions for skills development, job creation and industrial development.

Supporting economic recovery and development for Cape Town’s Area South

The City of Cape Town has adopted Area Economic Development (AED) as an approach to promote and encourage participation in local economic development as part of its delivery of urban management services to four service delivery areas. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated economic challenges across all areas, requiring the City to pivot towards supporting economic recovery for businesses and informal traders, among others.

Building on its support to the City in developing an Economic Recovery Plan for AED East (2021-2022), the EDP is supporting AED South in the creation and implementation of a Market Management Partnership model to address challenges experienced at Mitchell’s Plain Town centre, which comprises a large number of informal trading markets. The EDP is engaging with stakeholders to design an overarching governance structure and identify the necessary operating systems and practices to boost local economic growth and development.

Learning and support network for the Social Employment Fund

South Africa’s Social Employment Fund, launched in October 2021 under the Presidential Employment Stimulus and administered by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) aims to create ‘work for the common good’ by optimising partnerships between larger civil society organisations and informal grassroots networks. The Fund aims to create 50,000 new work opportunities in South Africa, including potentially 7000 to 8000 jobs in the Western Cape in the first phase, before scaling up further in subsequent phases.  In collaboration with the IDC and DG Murray Trust, the EDP is convening the Social Employment Network, a learning and support network to support the implementing partners by sharing information, documenting learnings and addressing challenges, while sharing learnings back to government to improve future Fund iterations.


Sustainable systems

As the impact of climate change unfolds, it is increasingly clear that social systems and ecological systems are closely interlinked. Sustainable systems emphasise alignment between people and the natural environment and embrace the complexity and resilience in each. The EDP convenes partnering processes that support regenerative practices towards enhanced social and ecological wellbeing, livelihoods and resilience to future shocks.

Coastal Park landfill site: Partnering to enable a wellbeing economy around recycling infrastructure

Cape Town’s Coastal Park landfill site in greater Muizenberg is expected to reach capacity within five years. The City of Cape Town is therefore developing an integrated materials recovery facility at the site to extend the landfill’s operating life and promote the reuse of recyclable waste in the waste economy. The EDP is supporting the City with the development of partnering processes to enable the integration of communities from the surrounding neighbourhoods including Vrygrond, Hillview and Capricorn into the materials recovery facility and community drop-off soon to be constructed. Key stakeholders include other City departments, waste management and waste picker integration experts, non-profit organisations, local residents and local businesses. The project aims to maximise the potential of existing community assets and livelihood opportunities towards a circular economy and help advanced waste management processes in Cape Town more broadly.

Supporting the implementation of Cape Town’s Climate Change Action Plan

In 2021, the City of Cape Town adopted a new Climate Change Action Plan as the implementation plan of the City’s Climate Change Strategy. Many of the plan’s actions will require the City to work in partnership with different spheres of society including residents, businesses, organisations, academia, international partners and across government. Civil society groupings play a significant catalytic role in building

The EDP will support the City’s Sustainable Energy Market team to deepen their engagement with civil society organisations through the development of a Stakeholder Engagement Framework and establishment of a representative platform for civil society to help galvanise city-level climate actions across Cape Town’s communities.

Futurecasting Cape Town: Dialogues around the City’s resilience

Futurecasting Cape Town is a series of webinars that promotes exchange across sectors and disciplines to reflect on critical issues facing Cape Town, with panelists invited to share their thoughts on how to build an inclusive and resilient future.

Futurecasting is a well-established approach to model the future and anticipate changes in a sector or society in the coming 10 to 15 years. It combines past patterns and trends with current insights and includes futures thinking to help shape the future and mitigate any possible risks.

The Futurecasting Cape Town series, which is convened by the City of Cape Town’s Resilience Department and hosted by the EDP, underscores a key element of the City’s Resilience Strategy, which aims to encourage participation in urbanisation solutions, access to shared knowledge and expertise and the ability to tap into the inherent economic opportunities inherent in rapid urbanisation and technological transformation.

See previous Futurecasting Cape Town webinars here.

Food: Addressing food insecurity and malnutrition

Access to quality food and nutrition is both an economic and social need, and key to unlocking productivity and wellbeing. As with the rest of South Africa, there are massive disparities in access to food and nutrition in the Western Cape, with one in three households facing severe food and nutrition insecurity. While the COVID-19 pandemic revealed and worsened these challenges, the sustained efforts by civil society, private donors and government showed that multi-sectoral coordination is both possible and necessary to address food insecurity and malnutrition.

Since early 2020, the EDP supported food aid efforts across the Western Cape to help alleviate food insecurity. Building on the network of kitchens supported and created by the Community Action Networks, the EDP created a voucher programme which was initially funded by private donations and managed with the help of the DG Murray Trust. Over R10 million was channeled to support 555 kitchens. In 2021, the Department of Social Development provided R2 million to continue the voucher programme which ended in December 2021.

In 2022, the EDP continues to convene the Western Cape Food Forum, comprising around 70 organisations and close to 400 individuals, with an increasing shift towards promoting local production for consumption across all levels of the food system. The EDP is also deepening its support to the Western Cape Government’s ‘Nourish To Flourish’ programme by convening a series of Food Learning Journeys in the three sites where the programme focuses; namely, Langa, Worcester and soon in Knysna. Similarly, the EDP is working with the City of Cape Town to support the implementation of the Food Systems Programme by enhancing good governance across all actors in the City’s food system.

Nexusing Water, Energy and Food to increase resilience

Demand for water, energy, and food (WEF) is increasing globally, driven by demographic and economic growth, changing user practices, and rapid urbanisation. In South Africa, the urban population is expected to increase to 80% of the total population by 2050, accounting for the vast majority of material consumption. Current models of resource-intensive urbanisation are unsustainable and put cities at risk. This is especially true for Cape Town, which is acutely vulnerable to water, energy and food crises.

The South African National Research Foundation together with the Dutch Research Council, under the Cooperation South Africa-Netherlands Programme are funding research to support studies on solutions that balance trade-offs and amplify synergies between the water, energy, and food sectors while preserving the environment. The project aims to boost governance arrangements and improve collaboration across these sectors, based on research conducted in collaboration with six local urban labs. The EDP is providing strategic partnering support to the consortium of research and societal partners, specifically around engagement with stakeholders in the food, energy and water sectors and supporting capacity building among stakeholders.

Building resillence in the Western Cape Water Supply System

The Western Cape is a water scarce region which has recently faced significant droughts with severe social and economic consequences. A long-term view of the region’s water resilience is needed to help protect against these catastrophic effects.

The findings of a multi-year hydroeconomic study concluded in 2022 of the Western Cape Water Supply System, which provides water to four million people in Cape Town and towns in the Overberg, Boland, West Coast and Swartland municipalities as well as agriculture, confirmed the need to urgently implement the City’s planned augmentation plans while ensuring that water resources are collaboratively managed for mutual benefit.

As part of the City’s augmentation plans, the EDP is supporting the City of Cape Town and National Department of Water and Sanitation to update the Raw Water Supply Agreement (2003) through multi-stakeholder engagements that will identify agreed principles and priority actions to ensure that the Western Cape Water Supply System is resilient to acute shocks, chronic stresses and anticipated population growth.

Partnering guidelines for catchment management agencies

Catchment Management Agencies (CMAs), as endorsed by the National Water Act of 1998 can play a critical role in delegating water resource management to regional or catchment levels and involving local communities in decision making. Yet to date, only two of an anticipated nine CMAs have been established. Funded by the Water Research Commission, the EDP in collaboration with Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Complex Systems in Transition is developing a guiding framework and recommendations for collaborative and adaptive management approaches for improved catchment management in South Africa.

The project draws on the lessons learned by the Breede River Partnership between the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency and the Western Cape government, which was designed and implemented with support from the EDP between 2017 to 2020. In 2022, a partnering framework will be released that will facilitate improved water management at catchment level.

Athlone Power Station redevelopment: Support to stakeholder engagement processes

The Athlone Power Station in Cape Town ceased operating as a coal-fired power station in 2003, but the site’s infrastructure holds strong potential for redevelopment towards renewable and sustainable energy generation. The EDP is supporting the City of Cape Town’s Sustainable Energy Markets team to conduct an extensive stakeholder engagement process to help develop a shared understanding for the future of the site. The process is informing the City’s pre-feasibility study and aims to build strong relationships with stakeholders across sectors to ensure adequate information sharing and foster collaboration in the years to come.



Spatial transformation

South Africa’s apartheid-era planning left a legacy of spatial inequality that in many places has worsened as social inequality has risen. In turn, spatial imbalances such as unequal access to economic opportunities, decision making and mobility further perpetuate social and economic inequality. The EDP brings partnering practices that engage the whole of society in promoting spatial integration and transformation in South Africa’s towns and cities.

Towns Action Network: National learning and support network

South African towns and their regions face many challenges, from persistent drought to ‘brain drain’ to bigger cities. Municipalities are overwhelmed, with many struggling to provide basic services. The Towns Action Network is an action-inspired national learning and support network convened by the EDP and seven other Support Partners – In Transformation InitiativeRanyakaKagiso TrustRestaurare/ Citeplan, Democracy Works Foundation, Karoo Development Foundation and Accountability Lab SA – which aims to connect, support and promote cross-sectoral efforts to bring about change and regeneration in small to intermediate towns. Bi-monthly full network meetings for the 90+ participating organisations are complemented by projects with local partnerships. Discussions are ongoing with potential partners and changemakers. Learn more about the Towns Action Network here.

Support to the Western Cape Intergovernmental Forum on Homelessness

Homelessness is on the rise in South Africa, due to social and economic insecurity which is worsened by informal housing and lack of legislation by government. Increasing migration to urban areas coupled with a lack of employment opportunities leaves many South African cities unable to provide even basic services.

The EDP is convening a ‘Homelessness Partnering Platform’ on request of the Western Cape Intergovernmental Forum on Homelessness to improve collaboration between the government and related civil society organisations in order to create sustainable pathways out of homelessness.

Rethinking the economics of public spaces in South Africa

As towns across South Africa rebuild their economies and social structures from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to acknowledge the role that public spaces can play in economic recovery and building collective well-being and resilience. In a series of articles published in the Daily Maverick, EDP Programme Lead Marcela Guerrero Casas engages with South African thought leaders and pioneers in their fields in rethinking the economics of public spaces and the concept of the commons more broadly as a key investment in the provision of basic services such as housing, transport, health and recreation.

This series is funded by the Heinrich Böll Foundation Southern Africa with a view to sharing best practices across African cities and accompanied with photographs by Ashraf Hendricks.