the team at shisaka

Shisaka is a development management consultancy that specialises in targeted support services in human settlements, housing infrastructure, and urban development. We create project teams with individuals drawn from our extensive network of associates to match the skills and expertise required per project. A few of the core team members are introduced below.

Karen Hague

Karen has over 20 years of experience in providing strategic, technical, and operational support with a focus on infrastructure planning and human settlement development. Her expertise spans economic and social infrastructure, as well as basic services. With a background in engineering and systems thinking, Karen effectively manages and engages in multi-year, multi-stakeholder, complex programs and projects with highly technical content. She has worked in both public and private sector organizations, and her skills in program and project management are well-developed.

Themba Maluleke

Themba was a founding member of Shisaka. Between 1991 and 1993, Themba worked as a Planning Consultant for Trac Field Worker, assisting land claimants in campaigning for the return of their land. In 1994, he served on the Strategic Management Team for the Department of Housing and Local Government, providing advice to the MEC on policy matters regarding low-cost housing land and land acquisition for housing development. From 1995 to 2000, Themba worked as the Project Manager of the Katorus Special Presidential Project, a R650 million initiative aimed at upgrading the townships of Katlehong, Vosloorus, and Thokoza. Subsequently, between 2001 and 2006, Themba served as the Project Manager of the Alexandra Renewal Project. Since then, Themba has been involved in over 50 land use and site demarcation projects within the Limpopo Province, primarily working with the Department of Local Government.

Themba holds a Bachelor of Administration from the University of the North (Limpopo) and a Master’s of Science in Development Planning from the University of the Witwatersrand. He is a member of SACPMP.

Ros Gordon

With 40 years of experience in the development sector, Ros Gordon has participated at various levels in a wide range of economic, housing, and social development projects and programs. She has collaborated with public and private sector organizations, community-based organizations, and non-governmental organizations. Ros has been directly involved in projects linked to policy formulation, including evaluations, research, implementation, and formulation of policies and programs. Her expertise extends to housing strategy formulation at metropolitan, provincial, and national levels. With her unique combination of qualifications and working experience, Ros brings an in-depth understanding of financial and business realities to the constraints and opportunities offered by development programs.

Ros Gordon holds a Bachelor of Science in Town and Regional Planning (1980) from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Master’s in Business Administration (1990) from the University of South Africa (UNISA).

Monty Narsoo

Monty is a development consultant who previously held the position of Deputy Director-General for Policy and Programme Management and External Relations in the National Department of Housing. He is also the founding CEO of the South African Cities Network, which provides support on urban policy to the nine metros in South Africa. Monty’s extensive knowledge of South African government housing policy and experience in government and non-governmental organizations make him a valuable asset in the fields of policy formulation, funding models, negotiations with the public and private sectors, infrastructure frameworks, and project and program management. He has a strong background in government and parliamentary processes related to policy, legislation, budgets, and procurement procedures. Monty’s previous role as General Manager of the Cope Housing Association further underscores his expertise in social housing policy and programs. He represented SANCO at the National Housing Forum.

Mr. Narsoo has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Public Development and Management from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Otto Holicki

With over 30 years of experience in the property and human settlement sector, Otto Holicki has extensive expertise in reviewing funding proposals and providing general development oversight of affordable housing developments. He specializes in structuring and managing funds in the urban and housing development arena. Otto offers specialist technical and financial consultancy services to financial institutions, social housing entities, and developers in the affordable housing and urban development sector. His focus areas include the preparation of development loan credit criteria and pricing, review and analysis of development opportunities, general technical assessments (including alternative building systems and energy efficiency schemes), and the design and implementation of developments/projects and development fund roll-out.

Otto holds a Sc. Engineering (Civil) from the University of Cape Town (1982) and a Graduate Diploma Course in Pre-stressed Concrete Bridge Design. He is a registered Professional Engineer (880541).

Reathe Taljaard

Reathe is a qualified social researcher with over 25 years of experience. Her research expertise includes both qualitative and quantitative work, focusing on areas such as informal settlements, backyard rentals, tenure security, employee housing, subsidized housing, affordable rentals, social housing, land ownership, and climate change. Reathe has conducted research throughout Southern Africa and has published various articles about her research in scientific journals. She has also presented papers at national and international conferences and has appeared as a guest on television programs to discuss her work.

Reathe holds a Master’s degree in Research Psychology from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She completed her Master’s internship under the guidance of Dr. Ineke Meulenberg-Buskens from the Netherlands at the Human Sciences Research Council in 1992. Reathe has been a co-owner of Progressus since its inception in 1993.

Dirk Taljaard

Dirk’s background is in social sciences and behavioral research. He obtained a Master’s Degree in Research Psychology from the University of Pretoria and completed a PhD at the University of Cape Town. Initially, Dirk focused on research on socio-economic issues, managing numerous surveys, including national ones. Later, he became more involved in biomedical research with behavioral components, driven by the pressing needs around HIV/AIDS research in South Africa. Dirk has experience and qualifications in both social and biomedical sciences, as well as survey methodology encompassing both quantitative and qualitative approaches. He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer and founder of an NGO providing men’s health services. Currently, Dirk has returned to Progressus, where he continues to conduct research on various issues, including socio-economic studies, housing, public health, and poverty relief.