Community Register Office

Feedback loops should be created and sustained in communities to ensure realistic expectations by community members and transparent reports on progress or lack thereof, in relation to service delivery by departments. This will result in building trust with and between communities.”

Summary of Objective 4 “Promoting sustained institutional mechanisms in communities” of the South African Integrated Social Crime Prevention Strategy 2011. 

The Community Register Office is a community-owned solution bringing tenure rights for people in informal settlements. After almost 25 years South African democracy, many people remain to live in unsuitable environments. Just over 7 million South Africans are living in shacks (Stats SA) – informal, often illegally erected corrugated iron or wooden makeshift structures – without access to water, sanitation and proof of address. Besides affording residents in an informal settlement the opportunity to an increased security of tenure, the Community Register Office facilitates improved service delivery and allows people to regain a sense of belonging and ownership.


The Community Register Office serves as a local community information hub where residents can register their personal information for record keeping. By registering personal details on the office’s database, residents have the opportunity to access legitimate and incremental land tenure. Government departments access this information to optimize service delivery: they can locate residents for distribution of grants, chronic medication and many other services.

Meet Nolusindiso Njozela, a passionate social worker from Monwabisi Park. 

social worker 02

“I visit the VPUU Community Register Office on a weekly basis [asking for assistance to locate residents according to their house numbers] – every time a new file comes in from Endlovini. It’s not just helpful for me, but mostly for the foster care grant recipients. We often have to stop the grant if we can’t review conditions. And then the children suffer, and that is not fair.”

Community members are trained to collect and capture data from households, manage the Community Register Office and distribute information upon request to community members and other stakeholders. Fieldworkers are up-skilled in using different types of technologies, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for mapping, Open Data Kit (ODK) Application for collecting and analysing data, cellphones and PC’s to maintain a living, electronic resident database.



Since 2015 VPUU has assisted with the Set-Up of two Community Register Offices located in Gugulethu and Khayelitsha Informal Settlements. In Lotus Park 1403 households have registered on the database, in Monwabisi Park 6507 households are registered. This is a 100% household registration rate. In Monwabisi Park, 6470 tenure certificates have been printed by City of Cape Town.

Want to #getinvolved and find out more on how to set up a Community Register Office? Download our Booklet or contact us today on Facebook @VPUUSA, email or call +27 21 447 0086. We are looking forward to hearing from you. 

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