The Team

The Team

Astrid Wicht
Architect and Community Development Facilitator

Astrid is an architect and community development facilitator, working in the built environment sector.  She has settlement planning and design, community based labour intensive construction facilitation and management, and housing and community facilities development experience working with communities in urban, small rural towns and rural contexts over the last 40 years

She has worked in a range of NGOs (housing, rural development and women’s leadership organisations), architectural practices, and on her own working in association and in partnership with architects, built environment professionals, housing NGOs and organisations, and local and provincial government

As a Popular Educator she works with communities and organisations to build integrated development processes to maximise opportunities and resources.  She applies an integrated, participatory, popular education, and education with production toward sustainable development methodologies

In the built environment and human settlement / housing development area, she works with community organisations to build partnerships, and an understanding of the built / green environment and the housing debate / challenges, build capacities to take leadership, ownership, manage, and maintain the processes for communities to continue the development of neighbourhoods and settlements.

Chris Palmer
Independent
Consultant

Chris Palmer has an extensive history in consulting engineering (structural and industrial projects), having studied engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, and a post graduate diploma at the University of Cape Town. He headed up a consulting practice before opening a project management practice. Since retirement he has specialised in earthquake engineering under South African seismic hazards, producing self-study courses and lecturing to post-graduates and practitioners. Recently his project management experience has been applied at PEP where, as an independent consultant, he provides the following services: Project planning and management; Risk mitigation; Technical research and development and Enumeration data analysis.

Shawn Cuff
Director

Shawn is a qualified architect who started his career in the development world as the Technical Coordinator of People’s Dialogue on Land and Shelter (PD) in 1993.  During this period, he accompanied numerous groups of shack dwellers on horizontal learning exchange programmes all around the world but focussed on India, Asia & Latin America.  After 5 years he left PD and founded People’s Environmental Planning (PEP).  The organisation started with a focus on the People’s Housing Process (PHP) and Shawn provided extensive socio-technical training to both communities & municipalities.  He has acquired a wealth of experience and exposure in people centred development over the past 30 years.  As the South African development context changed over the years, he has led PEP to meet these challenges and remains the Director of the organisation.

Olwethu Jack
Informal settlement support Programme Facilitator

Olwethu Jack is an alumnus of the Department of Architectural Technology at CPUT and worked with the Community Organisation Research Centre (CORC) and South African Slum Dwellers International (SDI) Alliance to support communities as a technical supporter. He is the founder and Managing director of Ubuntu Growing Minds. UGM is a group of qualified, skilled, and experienced professionals who are designers and community development facilitators in South Africa. Olwethu is currently working for PEP in Bitou as an informal settlement support Programme (ISSP) Facilitator.

Noah Schermbrucker
Programme Coordinator

After completing a master’s in human Geography at the University of Cape Town in 2011, Noah Schermbrucker entered the development field as a programme officer for Slum/Shack Dweller’s International. Over the next 5 years he supported organized community groups across Southern Africa (and further afield) as they advocated and implemented people centered development programmes. In 2016 he joined PEP and supported the organization in concluding longstanding historical projects in Ruo Emoh and Vukuzenzele. Noah’s role also includes strategic planning, fund-raising, reporting and documentation. Over the years Noah has authored several academic and popular pieces focusing on a variety of topics including gap housing, financing community driven sanitation models and new paradigms of local development practice. He remains an important and committed member of the PEP team.

Pumeza
Town and Regional Planning

Pumeza has a qualification in Town and Regional Planning which was obtained from Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She did her in-service training for one year at the City of Cape Town, Kraaifontein office. She worked as an intern for Knysna Municipality in the Town Planning department for a year and then joined Bitou Municipality, also as an intern, for 2 years where she worked in the Town Planning department and dealt with Land Use applications (which included building line relaxations, rezonings and subdivisions) as well as building plan approvals. She joined the PEP team in April 2019 where she began working on the Informal Settlement Support Programme in Bitou.

Victoria Mdzanga-Fanaphi
Social Facilitator

Victoria Mdzanga-Fanaphi obtained a Bachelor of Technologies in Public Management at Cape Peninsula University of Technology 10 years ago. She is the Social Facilitator for People’s Environmental Planning. She joined PEP in 2016 and previously had worked in informal housing which entailed informal settlement upgrading. Her skills and expertise on Informal Settlements projects in and around Cape Town has offered her a great opportunity to work with low income communities in incremental upgrading projects. These projects are multifaceted and range from supporting informal settlement in accessing basic amenities-water and sanitation.

Josiah Sikundla
Intern

Josiah Sikundla is currently pursuing a City and Town Planning qualification with the University of Cape Town. From the same university, he holds an Undergraduate degree in Environment Geographic Science and a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies. In April 2020, he joined PEP as an intern with the hopes of learning as much as possible, as well as contributing his skills and experience to the organization, and gaining some insight on what the Planning and Built environment fraternity entails. He is passionate about better understanding the Informal housing sector and the Informal economy. As an intern he will be playing a supporting role in the tasks in line with his qualifications and studies. He hopes to contribute his skills set to the greater good of making a difference in people’s lives in the work PEP is involved in.

Sihle Mntuna
Technical Facilitator

Sihle began her career with the Stellenbosch Municipality Land Use Management Department and, while working, graduated from Cape Peninsula University of Technology as a Town and Regional planner in 2017. Upon concluding her degree, she joined the Development Action Group (DAG) working as an intern. She was supporting informal settlement enumerations. In March 2019 she joined PEP as a technical facilitator supporting mapping and enumerations in Cape Agulhas and Khayelitsha. Sihle continues to provide technical support to PEP’s informal settlement upgrading initiatives while developing a specialisation in mapping and related Geographic Information Systems. Sihle will play a key role in future enumerations undertaken by PEP.

Susan Rumsey
Accountants and administration

Susan started her career as a junior bookkeeper for her husband’s construction company in Phalaborwa, in 1976. When she moved to Johannesburg seven years later, she worked in several positions as senior bookkeeper until she relocated to Cape Town in 1990, where she worked for a national credit bureau and collections agency as a Financial Manager.  In 1994 Susan decided to strike out on her own, offering accounting services to small businesses and single professionals.

Susan has been a registered Tax Practitioner with SARS since 2012 and is currently registered with the Institute of Accounting and Commerce.  Susan took up the part time accounting function for PEP in 2012, and is responsible for the full accounting function, all statutory returns, and financial reporting to both to the Director as well as the funders of PEP.