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SA hastens title deed handover to poor homes

Treasury to hand over homes worth R180 billion.

South Africa’s Treasury plans to speed up the transfer of ownership of homes worth R180 billion ($15 billion) to about one million poor people from April, granting them access to assets that could be sold or used as collateral, it said on Tuesday.

Broadening access to affordable housing for black communities trapped in squalid shanty towns has been a government priority since the end of apartheid in 1994, but shoddily-built homes and corruption has hobbled delivery, leading to violent protests around the country.

Ahead of next year’s national elections, land and property ownership in Africa’s most industrialised economy is a hot button topic, as the ANC-led government presses ahead with its plan to expropriate land without compensation, a policy that has unnerved investors.

“At a conservative rate we estimate that we could unlock R180 billion of dead assets for poor households,” James Archer, director for human settlements at the Treasury, told Reuters.

“There is a massive amount of equity that is missing which poor households could have used to finance their children going to university, for example,” he said.

Officials say there are an estimated one million South Africans who do not have title deeds to their homes, and the onus will be on provincial authorities to trace them and re-establish ownership.

“The measure of success is to get those 818 262 homes, which is the housing department’s indicator of those not on register, we want to see those delivered over the next three years, but more than that, we do not want the new houses that are being built to cause a new backlog,” he said. Treasury documents show there are an estimated one million such homes.

No easy task

From April, the Treasury and the department of human settlements, will spend an estimated R1.6 billion over three years to reduce the backlog of residents without formal ownership of their homes by among other things, paying the legal conveyancing required to get the deeds registered to the proper owners.

It is estimated that one in five owners of state-subsidised homes are not on the deeds registry.

Built for a single family earning less than R3 500 a month, equal to South Africa’s minimum wage, the first low-cost housing projects were a basic two room brick structure with corrugated iron roof sheeting.

Over the years this changed to a five room brick dwelling, with either corrugated iron roof sheeting or clay roof tiles and with lights and electricity.

“By not having title deeds in place we are denying the opportunity to millions of South Africans to interact in the property market,” said Francois Viruly, a property economist at the University of Cape Town.

Officials say, however, that the task of handing over title deeds to the rightful owners is no easy task.

Since 1994, around 4.5 million low-cost homes have been built and many of them have been sold informally, often more than once, or the intended beneficiary has died.

“To find the original beneficiary can be a mega-task … and where there has been an informal purchasing you can’t now prejudice the new owner,” Archer said. ($1 = R11.81)

COMMENTS   8

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Why bother ? According to the EFF and their Marxists palls, the ANC, all land must vest in the state. That being the case, your title deed will be worthless, unless it was meant as free toilet paper for the masses.

Because this is the way to stop the EFF or extreme leftists in general!

The fastest way to push people to the right of the political spectrum is to give them their own property that they could lose in a leftist revolution.

Worked very well in the UK when Thatcher did this with Right to Buy in the 80s. There hasnt been an even slightly socialist government there since.

I agree with you 110%, but my question is, too little too late ?

@Danie van Parow

It’s hard to say but I suggest if you plan to stay in the country you should never stop fighting for common sense!

Leftists generally shout much louder than economic conservatives…so just because most of what we hear is leftist populism doesn’t mean there aren’t also people who think differently.

@Danie van Parow: No, it is not too little too late, the EFF only had 6.35% of the votes in 2014. They are a very small minority.

Can I ask a stupid question?

Are they also going to get a farm? As mentioned this is just so the ANC can get the high ground regarding land. The EFF took it from them.

This article is confusing. Have these homes ben paid for as in “bought” and now title deeds handed over as should be. OR are these rental or free homes that have now been given away for free.

If the latter that may explain why cancer will not pay the future expropriated farmers loans from banks. R180 billion is the estimated amount that the farmers/banks would lose. The new title deed owners get their houses and land for free and the farmers/banks get zilch.

So rather than sell the houses they want to steal from farmers and or banks.

Cute.

Will those new beneficiaries of the free stuff have the decency to say thanks to the famers/banks? Unlikely as free receivers invariably believe that free stuff grows on trees.

“access to assets that could be sold or used as collateral”..

Thats fine but my question would be is it fully explained to these people that collateral is the risk that you could lose that property when you default on the loan?
These are low income groups being talked about here, risk of default is high and that could be an even bigger disaster.

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