On Thursday 18 March 2021, the community of Kwakwatsi, also known as Koppies, in the Northern Free State, welcomed another 100 new homeowners when they received their full title deeds to properties they had previously occupied as tenants. This was made possible through the generous sponsorship of Nedbank Home Loans, the unwavering support of the Ngwathe Municipality, and in partnership with the Free Market Foundation’s (FMF) Khaya Lam (My Home) Land Reform Project. This is the third presentation of title deeds in Kwakwatsi, which now has 527 homeowners in their community through Khaya Lam.
Due to Covid-19 protocols and restrictions, only three recipients out of the 100 were able to physically collect their title deeds, the remaining ones to be collected from the Council office the following day. The presentation ceremony took place at the Checkers Centre in Parys at 11:00.
Among the recipients was spritely Mrs Nkoko who turned 99 on the 19 March, 88 year old Mrs Mogadinyane and Mrs Shabangu, a youngster at only 78 years of age.
For Mrs Nkoko this is a very special birthday and for her children and grandchildren as their grandmother becomes a homeowner. Nedbank presented her with a birthday cake and blanket.
The deeds were presented by the Ngwathe Mayor Joey Mochela, accompanied by Thozama Mochadibane, Head of Customer Delight at Nedbank Home Loans. The FMF President Leon Louw was also present.
Mochadibane said that the bank's support of the Khaya Lam (my home) initiative is a demonstration of its commitment to delivering on its purpose to use its financial expertise to do good for individuals, families, businesses, and communities. “Property ownership is a vital cornerstone of personal wellbeing and wealth creation. By partnering with Khaya Lam to enable more South Africans to take legal ownership of homes they have been renting from councils, Nedbank is effectively giving those new property owners the foundations they need to achieve a better future.”
In his address, Leon Louw spoke of why so many people in South Africa still did not have title deeds to their own homes. "The greatest apartheid abomination was prohibition and dispossession of land ownership for black people. It deprived most South Africans of substantial wealth – half a million rand per family on average. Worse than that, it deprived them of security, dignity, and decent conditions.
At the dawn of democracy, the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act (ULTRA) changed that in law but not in reality. All living on registered land became owners. But a generation later, most still live under apartheid tenure because their titles were never registered. It gets worse. The ULTRA Amendment Bill before Parliament, if allowed to proceed, will expropriate nearly all of that land without compensation. Over 4 million poor black families – 16 million people – will be back where apartheid's greatest crime oppressed them.
We are here today to turn 100 victims into proud owners. This is a cause to which I dedicated my life. Our oldest recipient has her 99th birthday tomorrow, the day after my birthday today. I could not have a better birthday present than to thank Nedbank for their generosity and wisdom."
Ngwathe is the birthplace of the Khaya Lam project. In 2013, under the leadership of Mayor Mochela, Ngwathe municipality resolved to become the first urban area in South Africa where all land would be privately held under full freehold on the basis of complete equality between whites and blacks opening the door for large scale economic growth in Ngwathe and beyond.
For over 40 years, the FMF has championed the cause of converting the various forms of Apartheid title found in the townships to full, unambiguous ownership for the current tenants.