NAPDI is an independent, public benefit,  non-political,  civil-society organization with a mandate to address the developmental needs in the northern suburbs of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality, an area covering eleven municipal wards and forty four neighborhoods and representing over 240 000 residents.

NAPDI does so by creating platforms for civic engagement and promoting socio-economic development in the area and through lobbying, advocacy and being an enabler of community empowerment, contributes to collective action and considered interventions/projects that benefits the community.

NAPDI’s formation was the result of various community-level conversations driven by concerned residents during 2007-2008. Participants at various structured sessions / forums registered concerns with regard to service delivery, social disintegration, increasing levels of unemployment and perceived political marginalization of the area from the political processes.

Additionally, concerns about the prevalence drug abuse by youth, the increasing hold of organised drug and crime syndicates on community life, high drop-out rates amongst learners at school – all contextualized a youth population at great risk. Given the need for solid educational and health basics, a perception exists that this is being compromised by poor leadership within the departments of education and health. The lack of proactive leadership, across a 240 000 strong diverse residents profile increase the need for dedicated intervention.

As a result volunteers from the community, who had been at the forefront of these discussions, called a public meeting on 28 November 2008 with Professor Derrick Swartz as keynote speaker. The meeting resolved that a non-political, community-level organization be established to address some of the above challenges and to contribute to a better Northern Areas. A working committee was established representing various sectors from legal, sports, business, educational, arts and culture, community-based organisations and health and academia convened a workshop to outline a proposed format and strategy of the organization.

Following the strateic input session by these volunteers at a workshop at NMMU Missionvale Campus on 30 January 2009, a smaller task-team was tasked with compiling the inputs into an action plan which was launched on Human Rights Day 21st March 2009 with keynote speakers Professor Vivienne Lawack-Davids and the former Honorable MP Sophie Williams-De Bruyn.