“If I were to die today or tomorrow, I would do so in peace knowing my children have a place they can call home.”
So said an excited yet tearful Ernest Thembikile Lese, 66, who was among 35 Khayelitsha residents who were issued their title deeds by Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers at Isivivana centre on Tuesday November 16.
Mr Lese said he had lived in fear of what would happen to his children and home when he died because he did not have the necessary documents to prove he owned the house in which he had lived for 20 years.
“From now on, I will have peaceful nights knowing very well that I have the documents that prove that the house is mine.
“I have been waiting for this for years and feared that if I died the house might be taken and leave my children homeless. This might seem like a piece of paper but to me it means the entire world,” he said.
Mr Simmers said many of the recipients – most of whom were 50 or older – had been involved in a tedious battle to get their title deeds but the department had intervened to assist.
He said for many recipients it is extremely difficult to get title deeds on their own due to the fact that some owe the city rates and are unable to pay them.
As part of his department’s intervention, he said, they had asked the City to scrap the residents’ rates arrears.
Patrick Msungulwa, 50, could hardly contain his joy as he shared with Vukani how he felt about receiving his title deed, saying he could now live with “joy and peace”.