Victory for shop owners

Some of the owners who received their title deeds.

Business owners from Langa, Gugulethu and Nyanga – referred to as the Lagunya area – who had been battling to obtain title deeds for their properties could finally breathe a sigh of relief, after 25 title deeds were handed over to them on Tuesday June 28.
For nearly 40 years these businesses owners have operated from leased premises. Receiving these title deeds was, for many of these business owners, a step towards reviving their businesses and acquiring financial assistance from banks and, potentially, investors.
Addressing the businesses owners at the Gugulethu sport complex hall, Cape Town mayor, Patricia de Lille, said the City had already transferred 81 title deeds out of a total of 109 and that the remaining 26 title deeds were currently with
the transferring attorneys.
“We took a decision to alienate over 100 properties in the Lagunya area and sold them to the tenants at the reduced rate of R20 per square metre. We have subsidised the transfer fees of
R32 092 for each of the tenants.
“When we are done with the transfer, we would have empowered 109 Lagunya business owners. These owners can now take out loans, expand their businesses, and create more jobs. This creates sustainable economic development in the Lagunya area. I really commend and admire your perseverance,” she said.
She said the apartheid regime had deprived many black business owners of opportunities to run their own business and compete in the economy.
She added that, during the apartheid era, the government had given business owners permits to lease properties from the old Ikapa Town Council, but that they were never allowed to own these properties.
Ms De Lille explained that the City would link these business owners with existing business support programmes, which would not only enable them to grow their businesses, but would also provide them with additional support and skills which would assist them in better running their businesses.
Ms De Lille added that the Department of Economic Development would meet with the executives of the Lagunya Business Association in next week to try and find ways to address some of the challenges they are grappling with.
“The City will introduce you to skills programmes at no cost to you, so that you can expand your businesses and create more employment opportunities,” she said.
Asked about some of the challenges the City had faced in transferring the properties, Ms De Lille said that family disputes about who had the right to inherit the property was one of the challenges.
She added that some business owners had also not drafted wills. She therefore urged business owners to draw up wills to avoid family disputes.
Lagunya Business Association chairman, Belford Ntlanzana, 81, expressed his gratitude to the mayor, saying that these business owners could now run their businesses without being worried that they might lose their properties.
Mr Ntlanzana added that he had been running his supermarket in NY 6 for more than 45 years, but had not been able to lure investors as he did not own the property where his business was based.
“Our perseverance in fighting for what was rightfully ours has yielded the desired results, and for that we are grateful. This is the third time the mayor has given us title deeds and we say kudos to her hard work in ensuring that we don’t lose our businesses,” he said.
A beaming Nomonde Mangxola, 62, told Vukani that she was excited to have finally received a title deed, even though her business had closed down five years ago.
“I had been running my supermarket for more than 30 years, but due to financial difficulties and the influx of other businesses into our communities, my business took a knock, resulting in its closure
“The mayor promised us access to programmes that would help us to run our businesses better and I hope that, through those programmes, I will be able to reopen the businesses or give it to my children, who might have better ideas on how to run it.
“But I’m just happy that I own that property and I can lease it if I want to make an additional income, “ she said.