Two Khayelitsha residents who once faced eviction from their homes had their lives changed when they were handed the title deeds to their houses last week.
Jim Fani, 68, and Buyiswa Sondobo, 54, were among 105 residents who received their title deeds from Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers on Thursday August 5.
Mr Fani, who has lived in his Sisonke Street home for 30 years, said many beneficiaries had spent the better part of their lives in fear of being evicted. Now that they were homeowners, however, that threat had been removed, he said.
With tears of excitement, and with a clenched fist held up high, it was clear the old man was overcome with joy. And he assured Mr Simmers he would never sell his “blessing”.
“I was evicted but the community fought hard for me to remain here. This is to them too, I do not know how to thank them. Thanks to the MEC too for seeing a need to give us back our dignity.There are no words to describe the feeling when a dream comes true,” he said after being handed his title deed.
Ms Sondobo, of Ilitha Park, was completely overcome with emotion at the realisation that she was now a homeowner.
Like Mr Fani, she had once faced eviction, and was excited that she had a home to pass down to her four children and grandchildren.
“I am happy that my children will have a place they can call home,” she said.
Mr Simmers said by handing over the title deeds to their homes, provincial government hoped they were also restoring people’s dignity and addressing injustices of the past.
“This is yet another significant occasion that I’m looking forward to. We were presented with an opportunity to change our people’s lives forever, as they will now be the legitimate owner of their property.
“I’m excited to be part of this empowering moment,” he said, encouraging beneficiaries not to rent out or sell their properties.