"I'm very excited," said Leon Louw, Free Market Foundation (FMF) President, "about the final outcome of our wager on South African Airways (SAA) profitability. Everyone knows SAA has not become profitable by the end of March as hoped three years ago when the wager was agreed. Since SAA's former CEO, Mr Jarana, left 21 months ago, SAA's failure to turn a profit by the end of March 2021 cannot be attributed to him. Having lost the wager technically, Mr Jarana has graciously agreed to honour it and support the FMF’s Khaya Lam (My Home) freehold titling programme."
"We hold Mr Jarana in the highest esteem and said at the time, that if anyone could save SAA, he could," added Louw. "We'd hoped the wager would induce the government to give him the freedom and support he needed. When it didn't, he left."
The wager was that the loser would make a R100,000 charitable donation. Mr Jarana will contribute his R100,000 to the Khaya Lam project to register title deeds for low-income households. FMF wants to match the amount for which it hopes to find a sponsor. "I am delighted to welcome Vuyani to our family of illustrious sponsors," said Louw.
At the reduced cost achieved by Khaya Lam, R100,000 will fund nearly 40 titles with a total value of about R5 million, a 5,000% return on the wager.
"Leon wins what I deem a technical knockout in boxing terms because everyone close to SAA at the time could see that the initiatives were showing green shoots of progress towards turnaround of the company. I still believe there is space for an airline of SAA's profile in African Aviation market. Unfortunately, I could not see through my term hence Leon becomes a lucky winner. The biggest motivation for me to honour the wager, notwithstanding the circumstances, has been the choice of the charity project that will benefit from the wager, giving people title to property. We cannot say that we have truly ended apartheid land dispossession when the majority still do not have titles for their homes," said Jarana. "I'm delighted that our friendly wager has a happy ending. Khaya Lam is a worthy cause that I encourage everyone to support."
The greatest apartheid abomination was prohibition and dispossession of land ownership for black South Africans. It deprived 80% of South Africans of substantial wealth – nearly half a million rand per family on average. It also deprived them of security, dignity and decent conditions.
Louw said, "At the dawn of democracy, the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act (ULTRA) changed that in law but not reality. All black people with homes on registered land became owners. But a generation later, most still live under apartheid tenure because their titles were never issued."
A title deed is a profoundly powerful tool, a game-changer for millions of our poorest compatriots, unlocking dead capital into the hands of those who need it most and through them, the economy. It is a huge step on the ladder of upliftment and transformation, enabling homeowners to improve living standards, raise finance, educate children, start small businesses, access better healthcare, and more. Homeowners benefit from and contribute to overall prosperity.
Secure property rights are an important requirement for economic empowerment and civil liberty.
The Khaya Lam Land Reform Project issues fully tradable freehold titles to the previously oppressed. Especially after the Covid set-back, fully tradeable titles will make a huge contribution to economic recovery. The Khaya Lam initiative has registered over 10,000 deeds directly; an estimated 40,000 indirectly; and 8,000 in progress.
Jarana joins a distinguished group of sponsors including Reinet, Dr Johann Rupert, Remgro, Homechoice, FNB, ABSA, Nedbank, Capitec, Standard, Elgin Trust, Two a Day, Christo Wiese, Betterbond, Rising Tide, Cashbuild, and many other generous private individuals.
For nearly 50 years the FMF has championed the conversion of all forms of apartheid tenure and title to full unambiguous ownership for people hitherto deprived of freedom and dignity at no personal cost to the new owner. Khaya Lam has greatly increased awareness of and appetite for titles and has become the go-to organisation for titling expertise.
Mr Jarana stressed that, as he said at the time, he is no longer involved with SAA and would not want to be drawn into the prevailing SAA challenges. On leaving SAA, he returned to the ICT sector as an investor and sits on various boards.
Publish date: 31 March 2021
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The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.