After nearly 30 years of living in uncertain circumstances, Nolwazi Mnqanqeni, of Site B, Khayelitsha, can now boast that she owns a house.
Ms Mnqanqeni moved to Site B’s R section, in 1989, but never received the title deed.
All that changed last week, however, when the City of Cape Town issued title deeds to a group of residents from the R and Q section. The title deeds give ownership to homeowners.
An ecstatic Ms Mnqanqeni said she was thrilled to have gotten the title deed, saying she had never thought that one day she would own a property. She said all her children were grown up and had moved out of the house.
She is now living with her nine-year-old granddaughter.
“I am out of words, but I am happy that I am officially a homeowner. I won’t sell my house, but I will transfer it to my granddaughter. This is going to be her home,” said an excited Ms Mnqanqeni.
Another beneficiary, Ntombomzi Yoli, from Q section also expressed gratitude and said having a house was everybody’s dream.
“No one will ever claim my house as hers or his. This has been confirmed to me today by this piece of paper. I am over the moon to have received it at long last. This will benefit my children,” she said.
But Ward 89 councillor Monde Nqulwane labelled title deeds a “thorny issue” that required urgent attention, pointing out that, in some instances, title deeds for Khayelitsha people were issued in town or Bellville and that people were not always able to get to those areas.
He, therefore, commended the City for coming to the people to deliver their title deeds. “These are deserving people. That makes me happy,” he said. “We want to restore people’s dignity.”
However, he said, “(Sometimes) you find out whoever is in the house currently is a cousin or a relative that was never there before or somebody who claims to have bought the house years ago. It now becomes difficult to issue title deed in such cases.”
Mr Nqulwane urged people to keep proper documentation to avoid disputes over homeownership.
Title deeds, he added, empowered vulnerable owners and he was happy that the City was trying to redress the inequalities that resulted from apartheid, under which black people were denied property ownership.
“Our working class and the poor, particularly senior citizens of Site B, have been living in their houses for more than three decades, but they could never call the place their own because they never received the title deeds.
“Under apartheid, the government took away people’s rights to dignity and ownership as people of colour were not allowed to own property. We are happy that the gap is being closed now,” said Mr Nqulwane, encouraging the owners to look after their homes.