Academic Staff

Dr Jennifer Whittal

+27 (0)21 650 3575

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BSc in Surveying (University of Cape Town)
MSc in Engineering (University of Cape Town)
PhD in Engineering (University of Toronto)

Research interests
Theoretical research – cadastral systems in general
Extension of theory developed in PhD work to application in cadastral systems in general.

Doctoral research was conducted in the field of Land Tenure and Cadastral Systems with a thesis entitled Fiscal Cadastral Reform: A Case Study of the GV2000 Project of the City of Cape Town. To guide policy and practice in complex situations, this research in the area of fiscal cadastral reform focuses on formulating an appropriate framework for reform, with CAMA as a primary element. This research identifies a suitable theoretical and methodological framework for fiscal cadastral systems reform. This framework is informed by theory which is tested in application on the case study of the GV2000 Project and thereafter inductively extended. The main contributions of the research are in the exploration of an appropriate philosophical paradigm for fiscal cadastral systems research, the application of social systems theory in the consideration of the processes of property valuation and taxation as sub-systems of a fiscal cadastral system, which in itself is part of a larger whole (the cadastral system), and in the development of a methodological framework for fiscal cadastral systems reform. The findings of this research are that critical realism is a suitable theoretical basis for research in fiscal cadastral systems, that a social systems approach facilitates a holistic investigating including both the natural and social aspects of the system, that a pluralist multimethodological approach accommodates both positivist and interpretivist approaches and facilitates the identification of a suite of suitable and complementary tools for research and analysis of cases of fiscal cadastral systems reform. A further research outcome is the inductive extension of what are understood to be “best practices” in property valuation and taxation to an integrated, social systems, strategic framework for reform of fiscal and other cadastral systems.

Juridical and integrated cadastral systems

  • Urban Informal Settlements: Upgrading and flexible land tenure options: Land holding by the poor in the urban context is a particular issue requiring research and development of practical tools.
  • Africa Centre for Cities (ACC): My involvement is in the specialist areas of land surveying, transfer and ownership processes, land tenure issues and options, and property valuation and taxation.
  • Land Tenure and Sustainability: Informality in property registration and transfer – development of an integrated socio-technical process (tool) for reformalising the informal.
  • Sea shore cadastral issues – reducing the uncertainty at the land-sea interface
  • Land Restitution – tracking cases of land restitution with a view to informing method, structures and processes

Fiscal Cadastres – CAMA systems
Computer assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) of land values has many advantages. Research in modelling the value of landed property and measuring performance of such systems is ongoing.

Akrofi, EO, Whittal, J (2011) Customary land rights in the context of urbanisation and development, Presented at the Jubilee Congress of the Commission on Legal Pluralism, Cape Town, 8-10 September 2011.

Whittal, J (2011), The Integrated Coastal Management Act No 24 of 2008 (ICMA) – a Professional Land Surveyor’s Interpretation, Presented at the Jubilee Congress of the Commission on Legal Pluralism, Cape Town, 8-10 September 2011.

Whittal, J (2011), Integrated Coastal Management Act: Surveying challenges in the coastal zone, non-peer review article submitted July 2011 to GIM International, 9 (25), September 2011, Geomares Publishing.

Akrofi, EO, Whittal, J (2011) Land for peri-urban Infrastructure in Customary Areas: A case study of Kumasi, Ghana, FIG Working Week 2011: Bridging the Gap between Cultures, Marrakech, Morocco, 18-22 May 2011, TS 05K – Land Tenure in Africa, 4965. Conference Proceedings

Whittal, J, Fisher, F (2011), Implications of the Integrated Coastal Management Act No 24 of 2008 on the South African coastal cadastre and its survey and management, peer review paper at the AfricaGEO conference, Cape Town, May 2011. (primary author and correspondent). Conference Proceedings

Akrofi, E, Whittal, J (2011), Traditional governance and customary peri-urban land delivery: a case study of Asokore Mampong in Ghana, peer review paper at the AfricaGEO conference, Cape Town, May 2011. (correspondent). Conference Proceedings

Mabesa, M, Whittal, J (2011), Analysis of the current cadastral system in Lesotho using Viable Systems Modelling (VSM), peer review paper at the AfricaGEO conference, Cape Town, May 2011. (correspondent). Conference Proceedings

Meelun, G, Whittal, J, Evans, K (2011), Analysis of spatial heterogeneity in modelling high-priced residential properties of Cape Town using neural networks, peer review paper at the AfricaGEO conference, Cape Town, May 2011. Conference Proceedings

Whittal, J (2010), The potential use of cellular phone technology in maintaining an up-to-date register of land transactions for the urban poor, initially presented at the Colloquium on Good Governance in Land Tenure, Faculty of Law, University of the North-West, 22-23 April 2010, thereafter peer reviewed and published in the Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal (PER), 14( 3), Pages: 162-194, ISSN 1727-3781.

Whittal, J, Jones, S (2010), Locating the Positions of the Original Cape Farms of the 1660’s – A demonstration of cadastral reconstructions using regular techniques and GIS cadastral fabrics, Peer reviewed paper presented at the FIG Congress 2010, Facing the Challenges – Building the Capacity, Technical Session 10K – Cadastral Boundary Issues, Sydney, Australia, 11-16 April 2010. (primary author and correspondent). Conference Proceedings

Roux, L, Barry, M and Whittal, J (2009), Analytical Methodologies to Guide Interventions in Informal Settlements, Proceedings of the FIG Working Week 2009, Eilat, Israel, 3-8 May 2009. Conference Proceedings

Whittal, J (2008), Fiscal Cadastral Systems Reform: A Case of the General Valuation Project 2000 in the City of Cape Town, PhD Thesis, University of Calgary, Canada.

Barry, M, D Dewar, J Whittal, I Muzondo (2007), Land Conflicts in Informal Settlements: Wallacedene in Cape Town, South Africa, Urban Forum 18(3), Sept 2007, p171-189.

Musekiwa, T, J Whittal (2006), Analysis of impact of location factors on CAMA models, Journal of the South African Institute of Valuers, October 2006.

Whittal J, and M Barry (2006), Theoretical Approaches to Implementation of Technology for Cadastral Reform, Proceedings of the Commonwealth Association for Surveying and Land Economy (CASLE) Conference on Promoting Sustainable Land Management in Africa, March 2006, Bagamoyo, Tanzania.

Kahonde, J and J Whittal (2005), Towards the modelling of view for property valuations through the use of GIS and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis techniques, Proceedings of the AfriGIS Conference, October 2005, Pretoria, South Africa.

Whittal, J and M Barry (2005), A Framework for Analyzing Change Management in Geomatics Development Projects, Proceedings of the FIG Working Week 2005 and GSDI-8, Cairo, Egypt April 16-21, 2005. Conference Proceedings

Whittal, J and M Barry (2004), Fiscal Cadastral Reform and the Implementation of CAMA in Cape Town, Proceedings of the 3rd FIG Regional Conference, October 3-7, 2004, Jakarta. Session TS13 Commission 7: TS13.3: Land Administration in Post-Conflict Areas, Tuesday 5 October 2004, 15:30 – 17:00; also in the proceedings of the FIG Expert Group Meeting on Secure Land Tenure: “New legal frameworks and tools” – UN-Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya, 10 – 12 November 2004. Conference Proceedings

Whittal, J, I Muzondo, D Dewar, M Barry (2004), Informal Settlements – Breeding Grounds for Conflict, South African Reconciliation Barometer: Tracking Socio-Political trends, Volume 2, Issue 2, August 2004, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

Muzondo, I, M Barry, D Dewar, J Whittal (2004), Land Conflicts in Informal Settlements: Wallacedene in Cape Town, South Africa, Proceedings of the FIG Working Week May 22-27 2004, Athens, Greece. Conference Proceedings

Barry M and J Whittal (2003), The Geomatics Curriculum at the University of Cape Town: A Model for Developing Countries. FIG Working Week, 13-17 April 2003, Paris. Session TS27.4 Education and Life-Long Learning II, Wednesday 16 April 2003, 16:00–17:30.

Opportunities for postgraduate and collaborative research
Any interested students to contact me regarding post-graduate research in line with the research themes mentioned. Prospective students should have a first-class four year university degree. Please send your CV, transcripts from all University-level programmes of study, digital copy of your final year thesis or MSc thesis, and a letter of motivation. All students taken on under my supervision will be required to conduct coursework which will include a course in research methods. All students should be registered full-time for the duration of the research-based degree, unless their research project is to be conducted as part of the requirements of their work.
Collaborative work with other academic institutions and industry would be welcomed.

Professional service

  • Nov 1993 – Mar 1995 Council Member of the Institute of Professional Land Surveyors of the Western Cape (IPLSWC)
  • Apr 1995 – Mar 1997 Vice-president IPLSWC
  • Apr 1997 – Mar 1999 President of the IPLSWC
  • Apr 1999 – Mar 2001 Council member as immediate past President
  • Alternate member of the Education Advisory Committee of PLATO.