The School of Built Environment and Development Studies (SOBEDS) recently hosted the Institute for Human Settlement Practitioners of South Africa (IHSP-SA) board meeting and strategic planning session at the Howard College campus.

The Dean of SOBEDS, Prof Ernest Khalema said, “Both the School and the Discipline of Housing are supportive of processes aimed at professionalizing housing and human settlement development in South Africa. UKZN was one of the first universities in South Africa to respond to the national Department of Human Settlements professionalization drive by offering a degree specializing in housing. Furthermore, UKZN will be partnering with the national Department and the IHSP-SA in hosting a Pan African Symposium concerning housing and human settlements related issues in 2020.”

The IHSP-SA is a nationally active voluntary association, whose mandate is to mobilize and represent human settlements practitioners. The IHSP-SA has a collaborative programme which seeks to combine national and international stakeholders to advance the professionalization of human settlements practitioners in South Africa. Prof Sijekula Mbanga who is the chairperson of the IHSP-SA commented, “The Institute is preparing a strategic plan for the 2020/2023, once this process is complete the IHSP-SA will be embarking on a series of roadshows in early 2020 to raise awareness of the work of the IHSP-SA as well as to recruit members including seasoned practitioners, students and recent graduates.”

Some of the key priorities of the IHSP-SA is to provide a hub service; to recent graduates and young professionals; represent housing and human settlements professionals; provide a platform for continuous professional development of practitioners and to lobby for a Council for Human Settlements Practitioners in South Africa.  Dr Lovemore Chipungu an academic in SOBEDS commented, “The formation of the IHSP-SA is indeed a positive development for the sector. Our students were well represented at this gathering and were able to put forward their current challenges and expectations for a professionalized sector in South Africa.”

As part of the proceedings, a national interim Student Chapter of IHSP-SA was elected to enable the professional body to spread its reach across the respective institutions of higher education which offer a qualification in Housing & Human Settlements. The following students were elected to head the student chapter: Mr. Thandolwethu Mteto, Nelson Mandela University (Chairperson); Ms. Samkelisiwe Mosiea, University of Free State (Deputy Chairperson); Ms. Kuhlekonke Watu Ntuli, University of KwaZulu-Natal (General Secretary); Ms. Phumuzile Mahlangu, University of Witwatersrand (Deputy Secretary General); Mr. Lungelo Mhlongo, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Treasurer); Ms. Noncedo Xulu, University of Free State (Development Officer); Ms. Zininzi Mpongwana, Nelson Mandela University (Research Officer); Mr. Tahula Rofhiwa, University of Witwatersrand (Project Coordinator); Mr. Athenkosi Ndima, University of Fort Hare (Media & Marketing); and Ms. Ayanda Ndlumbini, University of Fort Hare (Media & Marketing).

Mr Thandolwethu Mteto, Chairperson of the Students Chapter of IHSP-SA noted, “Students are excited to be able to participate and shape the future of the sector.  As the student chapter, we strongly support the professionalization agenda that was initiated by the national Department of Human Settlements in South Africa, to contribute towards an independent body to ensure ethics and high standards of practice as well as linking students with relevant opportunities after their period of study. This exposure will stand us in good stead and position us in as we continue to grow as young professionals.”

Words by Brendan Patrick Boyce