About Us


PEP is a not-for-profit organisation (054-862-NPO) that has supported organised communities in informal settlements (slums) around South Africa since mid 1998. Shawn Cuff (a qualified architect) established PEP to provide technical housing assistance to the South African Homeless People’s Federation and subsequently the Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP). Over the next decade PEP assisted poor communities affiliated to FEDUP design, plan and build houses across South Africa.  In this time PEP has adapted to the many shifts in the local housing environment, providing sustained support in line with our vision and mission.  Details and photos of these projects can be viewed here.

Over the years PEP’s work has expanded into researching alternative technologies & cost saving approaches to affordable housing delivery. The organisation has also been active in providing technical training to informal slum dwellers and officials active within the People’s Housing Process (PHP). In 2004 PEP embarked on a search for workable solutions to providing emergency, but temporary, shelter to the victims of the fires and floods that plague informal settlements in South Africa. The project rapidly expanded and has since grown into an independent organisation known as Ikhayalami.

Many of the concepts developed were adopted, in policy, by the City of Cape Town in 2014 and have also been rolled out by other stakeholders and organisations as part of informal settlement upgrading approaches across the country.

Over the last few years PEP has focused on the research and application of “green” or sustainable building initiatives that are practical, affordable (within the subsidy quantum) and maintainable in both formal and informal settings. A further key focus has been tenure security for informal residents through technical support and the unblocking of stalled projects. To this end PEP has been active in assisting communities to pursue the formalities required in rezoning, subdivision, land surveying, surveyor general, conveyance etc. with the ultimate goal of achieving formal title to their homes.

PEP’s current strategic plan is illustrated on the home page of the website with a full copy available for download here

Members of the Board

Mr Michael Shackleton

Michael Shackleton

  • Former editor of the national Catholic Newspaper, The Southern Cross
  • Served as ordained priest from 1961-1975 in Cape Town

Mr Martin Mulcahy


  • Advisor to the National Minister of Education (current)
  • Deputy CEO: National Access Consortium Western Cape
  • Founding Rector: LEAF College of Commerce and Engineering

Dr. Mercy Brown-Luthango


  • Research Officer at African Centre for Cities (ACC), University of Cape Town (current)
  • Researcher and Impact Area Co-ordinator at Development Action Group (DAG)
  • Gender Research Co-ordinator at Labour Research Services (LRS)

Members of the Team

Shawn Cuff



Noah Schermbrucker


Programme co-ordinator

Claire du Trevou


Co-ordinator: Upgrading

Archie Olkers


Community Technical Support

Victoria Mdzanga


Social Facilitation

Strategic Partners