It was a memorable day for the residents of Harare, in Khayelitsha, who had been living in their homes for years without their title deeds when ward councillor Anele Gabuza and the local South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) handed over 125 title deeds to the community.
Residents and community leaders gathered at Masibambane hall on Sunday May 28, to collect their title deeds and many could not hide their excitement and relief, having lived in fear that someone else might fraudulently claim their houses.
Some residents said they had been unable to sell their houses because they did not have proof that the house belonged to them.
Mr Gabuza said the issue of title deeds is among the major challenges facing his ward and that many people did not follow the correct procedures when they bought their houses.
What often happened, he said, was that the seller would then disappear with the buyer’s money and the buyer would find him or herself without documentation which proved that the houses belonged to them.
Mr Gabuza stated after he became aware of this practice, he felt obliged to assist the residents. He told Vukani that the there were still a number of people who were trying to obtain their title deeds from the previous homeowners and called on the residents to refrain from buying houses without consulting lawyers and street committees in the area.
“This is not the first batch of people to receive title deeds.
“Last year we gave other people their title deeds.
“Our role is to show the residents (how) to get their matters sorted and bring experts to assist them,” he said.
Excited title deed recipient Nontsikelelo Tyala said she had been waiting for years for her title deed after having bought a plot in Harare in 1999.
She said after she paid R3 000 of the R4 000 that was being asked for the plot, the owner of the gave her a title deed but it was not in her name.
Shortly after that, she said, the owner moved away from Cape Town and ever since then she had been battling to get hold of him.
She then opted to ask for help from the councillor two years ago. “I feel like a new born baby and this is best day of my life. I will forever cherish this day.
“I thank Mr Gabuza for helping me,” she said.
Chairperson of Sanco in Harare, Yandisi Mdubuli, said he was proud that they had been able to assist the residents to obtain their title deeds.