The 24-year-old winger agreed to join Munster back in July following the end of the Super XV season and the Currie Cup campaign withWestern Province.
His move his now imminent withWestern Province losing the Currie Cup final 33-19 to the Sharks and a debut expected before December arrives.
And Munster head coach Penney is keen to give van den Heever as much time as possible to acclimatise before using the wing to his full potential.
"When he gets an opportunity he's bloody dangerous," Penney told the Irish Examiner. "They don't use him as much as we like to think he could be used.
"Hopefully he is pretty excited about the opportunities that he is going to get here. We'll probably give him a little settling period, but he'll be back for the middle week, in around November 10 or 11.
"They are a little more conservative by nature, the South Africans. In the way they play, they certainly tend to put the boot to the ball and chase a lot more than in some other areas of the world.
"But Gerhard has got an attacking skill-set that we are really keen to engage with. That's why we got him here.
"There is an opportunity this week with the injuries that we've had in the back field for a couple of other young blokes to get an opportunity.
"If that comes to the fore then Gerhard's got some challenges in front of him to try to squeeze a place."