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Long wait for title deeds in Durban

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Residents of Mount Moriah have been waiting more than ten years

Photo of houses on hill
Residents of RDP houses in Mount Moriah, north of Durban, have been waiting for years for title deeds to their homes. Photo: Nokulunga Majola
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Residents of Mount Moriah, north of Durban, have been waiting more than ten years for title deeds to their RDP homes.

EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the delay was caused by “confirmation of infrastructure services by the City line departments”. Asked by GroundUp what that meant, he did not respond.

The residents say they don’t feel like home owners. They say some of the RDP home-owners do have title deeds, but more than 2,500 homes are without title deeds in the area.

Fozi Cassim, who has been living in the area for 14 years, said she is afraid someone might come and claim her house. She says she has tried to get a title deed, but each time she and her family go to the offices they are told it is not ready.

“When we first went to the title deeds office, we thought it was just a matter of signing some documents but it was not as easy as we thought. We went back again after five years as we were told, but again, it was a waste of our time. The City is using delaying tactics not to give us our title deed, for what reason we don’t know,” Cassim said.

She said some people do have title deeds for reasons she does not understand. “We are living in the same area and we all have RDP houses, how come others have title deeds and we don’t?”

Ruth Ndwandwe says she was told 13 years ago when she moved into her three-roomed house that she would be given a title deed. “We have been waiting since. I want to leave this house to my children when I die, but how am I going to do that because I don’t have ownership documents proving that the house is mine?”

Ward 110 councillor Pete Graham said the failure to issue title deeds was “a complete lack of political will to do the job”.

“By denying people the right to their own property you are denying them the right to better themselves,” he said, adding that the RDP homes in Mount Moriah were among the oldest in the city.

EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Mayisela said the issuing of a title deed could be delayed for an unknown period of time if there were “challenges” on the project. Mayisela said the delays in issuing title deeds in Mount Moriah “are caused by confirmation of infrastructure services by the City line departments”.

“Service certificates need to be obtained prior to the opening of the township register to enable individual transfer of units to owners and issue title deeds.”

GroundUp has been emailing Mayisela and three colleagues since March to ask what this means, but has not had an answer.

Handing out title deeds in November last year in Parkgate, where some residents had been waiting since 2004, the chairperson of the City’s Human Settlement and Infrastructure Committee, councillor Thanduxolo Sabelo, said in a statement that the City had allocated a budget to fast-track the verification and distribution of the title deeds programme.

“Giving people ownership of their properties is an effective means of empowering them and allowing them to have access to the economy using their properties as collateral,” he said.

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TOPICS:  Housing

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