Media release: Historic land titling event in Alex, Johannesburg

10 December 2019
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Media Release

10 December 2019

Historic land titling event in Alex, Johannesburg

The Free Market Foundation (FMF) is delighted that, after many years of heroic activism for land restitution by Alexandra (Alex) township property claimants, supported by the FMF, the first batch of title deeds in Alex will be presented at a ceremony on 10 December 2019. Up to 100 claimants will receive title deeds from Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, at Kwa Bhekilanga High School at 10 am. A further 200 have been registered and are expected to be presented shortly. Over 2000 more are in the pipeline.

FMF executive director, Leon Louw, who has made land titling and specifically restoration of Alex property rights a lifetime’s cause, said, “We are thrilled by this development which has taken years of dedicated work. Alex is arguably South Africa’s most significant “township”. That titling has finally commenced is of immense political and historical significance. It is an achievement to be celebrated by all South Africans. Without full, secure and unambiguous ownership of all land occupied by black South Africans, the repeal of the nefarious 1913 Natives Land Act is a fraudulent myth.”

In 1907, Alexandra was proclaimed, a “black” suburb with full freehold title. It became, under apartheid, a “black spot” in a “white group area”. All Alex land was expropriated without compensation in 1968. Fifty one years later, and 25 years since the end of apartheid, restitution is finally occurring.

Alex land claims were dismissed by the Land Claims Commission with a demeaning offer of “compensation”. The amount offered was not enough to cover lost access to finance, lost land value, lost rental income and the like.

Two decades of heroic activism by dispossessed owners followed. The FMF’s Khaya Lam (my home) land titling project proudly supported them where it could.

Since the city council was the sole owner of the land – inherited from the apartheid regime – there was no plausible excuse for not simply returning all land to apartheid victims or their descendants. Instead endless years of unconscionable excuses and incompetence delayed restitution until now, a full generation later.

The FMF calls on the government to stop prevaricating, and register all remaining properties as quickly as the Deeds Registry can process them. The FMF, which has more experience than anyone else at registering such deeds, offers its assistance at no cost to government.

For more information visit the Khaya Lam website.

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