Ngwathe leads the way in transformation through ownership

Other municipalities could have done it, other provinces could have done it, but it is Ngwathe that leads the way. They partnered with the Free Market Foundation (FMF) to work towards ensuring that all occupants of “apartheid” housing receive title deeds to their properties.

FNB played a critical role in the creation of the Khaya Lam (My Home) project. They sponsored the work that went into finding out how to convert thousands of houses into full freehold ownership in the hands of their registered occupants at the lowest cost. They then also sponsored the transfer of the first 100 title deeds. These were the most difficult because a process had yet to be set up – all the way from completing applications, having them checked by the municipality, negotiating with the Deeds Office, carrying out the transfers, through to the historic presentation of the first title deeds by Premier Ace Magashule and Ngwathe Mayor, Joey Mochela in October 2013.

The next large presentation of title deeds took place in May 2015, when Dr Christo Wiese was on hand to present 100 title deeds financed by himself and his family and a further 56 funded by other sponsors. Matroos Ratole (97), born in 1918, 5 years after the adoption of the 1913 Land Act (the Act that took away the right to own land from black South Africans), became a landowner in his own right for the first time in his life. A truly magnificent moment.

                                                       Mayor Joey Mochela with new home owners  

On Wednesday, 10 February 2016, sponsors FNB, representatives from the FMF and the town council of Ngwathe gathered once again in the Barnard Molokoane School Hall, Tumahole, with new owners and Mayor Joey Mochela for the presentation of 200 more title deeds, making a total of 300 Ngwathe families who will have received fully tradable freehold title deeds as a result of FNB sponsorship.

                                                                  Some of the new title deed holders

The Khaya Lam (My Home) project gives each and every South African who can afford to do so, an opportunity to help the FMF and its partners in their efforts to reverse, to some extent, the harm caused by the 1913 Land Act. The property rights deprivation of black South Africans lasted for an intolerable 78 years (1913-1991) until the repeal the Land Act in 1991. Throughout the country, there are an estimated five to seven million properties to convert from ownership by the state to fully tradable freehold title. We have to keep chipping away, one house at a time, until all those families, at last, have title deeds to their homes.

                                           Selina Chabalala, proud new owner of her home with her title deed

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 FMF.

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