Residents of Hlazo Village in Nyanga, are waiting for feedback from Mayor Dan Plato’s office after they marched there last week to demand answers to their concerns about the title deeds to their homes.
When Totose Mkhangeli, 78, took occupation of his RDP house more than 20 years ago, it was a big deal to him. However, after all these years, he is uncertain about whether he actually owns his home.
Mr Mkhangeli is one of many residents who have demanded to know if their title deeds will be handed over to them.
“There is no future plan. You can not be sure whether to extend or make something to the house because we do not have title deeds. I have lived in the house for more than two decades, but I am clueless if that house is mine,” he told Vukani.
“We now want assurance that when we depart in this world our children will have a place to call home. That is why I thought let me be part of the march.”
The residents took to the streets last Wednesday morning to protest against delays in a handing over of their title deeds.
However, adding to their frustration is talk of a 30-year lease agreement, apparently between the City and Ilinge Labahlali Cooperative.
One of the protest leaders, Mthetheli Wontyi, said Ilinge Labahlali had converted hostels into family units in 2006 and the agreement was that people would be given their title deeds five years later. However this has not happened.
“During our investigation on the matter, we found out that there is a lease agreement of 30 years between Ilinge Labahlali and the City and the beneficiaries were not aware of the lease agreement,” he said.
“We have been meeting the city officials, but they kept sending us from pillar to post for four years. The beneficiaries have had enough of the games played by the city and decided that the only language that the city will understand is a protest,” he said.
In their memorandum, residents said they were living in constant fear that they might be evicted, that there was no service delivery in their area, and they were uncertain about whether they could repair the houses as they did not know if they were the legal owners.
The protesters gave the City 14 days to respond to their demands and concerns.
City official Jemayne Andrews, who accepted the memorandum on behalf of the Mayor’s office, promised to get back to them as soon as she had familiarised herself with the issue at hand.
Vukani was unable to make contact with the Ilinge Labahlali Cooperative and the City had yet to respond to our queries about the alleged lease agreement by the time this story was published.