Feature Article 2: Amazing donors make property titling possible in Ngwathe, Free State

The FMF’s Khaya Lam (My House) project is a bold and determined move to effect change in South Africa and reverse one of the worst iniquities of apartheid. Amazing people are coming forward to support the FMF in this venture.

First among the donors was FNB, who supported the Ngwathe Municipality (main town Parys) and the FMF in the regulatory discovery process: how (at lowest cost and at no cost to the recipients) to convert all the Municipality’s rental housing stock built during the apartheid era to freehold titles in the names of the registered tenants.

FNB also sponsored the conversion of the first 100 properties to full tradable freehold title. These titles were handed over at a joyous function, sponsored by FNB and presided over by Free State Premier, Ace Mageshule, and Mayor, Councillor Joyce Mochela, in the township of Thumahole, Parys.

Other smaller donations received so far from individual members and interested parties have made it possible for the FMF to instruct the conveyancers to do another 60 conversions to freehold title. This should be completed by the end of September.

Pepkor Chairman, Christo Wiese, is sponsoring another 200 conversions, 100 in Ngwathe and another 100 in the Western Cape and is asking others to also support the Khaya Lam project.

The FMF is currently set up to do titling in Ngwathe only. This area was, for various reasons, chosen as the pilot area to demonstrate how the titling can be done and done as expeditiously as possible at lowest cost. The FMF therefore prefers donations to assist in pushing this pilot area titling forward as rapidly as possible.

There are an estimated 30,000 conversions to be done in the Ngwathe townships. The number already completed might seem small but they are significant in that they represent the first steps of a South African municipality to fully reverse the apartheid prohibition on property ownership by black people in its area of jurisdiction. The conversions that have been completed have already made a noticeable difference to the people who have received their title deeds. Visit their houses and you see the signs of change. Piles of bricks indicate that they are about to start additions that have been done without for many years. Now that they own their own properties, they are prepared to invest in them and make them more to their liking.     

During the apartheid years black South Africans were not allowed to own land in so-called “white” areas. They could work for people in towns and cities but could not live there. The result was that the government built “dormitory rental towns” to house them in varying proximity to the “white” urban areas. Twenty years into the New South Africa, it is only fitting that the people who were denied ownership in the past should receive freehold titles to the properties that, in some cases, have housed them and their families for generations. And to do so at no cost to them.

There are, of course, costs involved, but given that this is a process of land reform, the FMF has negotiated with all the parties involved and managed to reduce the total cost to R1,850 per title deed. Our original quote was R1,650 but we have been compelled to increase the figure to cover the administration costs involved in carrying out the project. We have one staff member initially employed at Ngwathe to liaise with applicants for conversions and secure all the information needed by the Ngwathe Municipality and the conveyancers who will take the process through to registered title deeds.

Donate R1,850 to the FMF Khaya Lam (My House) Land Reform Project and you will help us to make this country unique in Africa; to make it an African country where millions of black families are property owners. Anyone and everyone can make a donation towards the project. Donations are tax deductible (up to 10% of annual taxable income) as the FMF is a registered Public Benefit Organisation.

Give property ownership to one household in Ngwathe by paying the R1,850 titling cost on their behalf. . The FMFwill notify you of the name/s and address/es of the beneficiaries of your generosity and will invite you to attend the presentation ceremonies at which the title deeds are presented to the new owners.

Donations can be paid into the accounts of the Free Market Foundation, Account number 42 1066 946 at Standard Bank, Sandton Branch code 019205, Swift Code SBZAZAJJ or Business Cheque Account Number 622 7030 1650, First National Bank, Sandton Branch code 254605, Swift code FIRNZAJJ132 – Reference: Your name / Ngwathe. Please send proof of payment and contact details by fax (011) 884 5672 or by email to accounts@fmfsa.org

Author Eustace Davie is a director of the Free Market Foundation. This article may be republished without prior consent but with acknowledgement to the author. The views expressed in the article are the author's and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.

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