Deeds: ‘Promise not kept’

2016-04-20 06:00

“NO dignity was restored to us as per the promise of the Sol Plaatje Municipality earlier this year in February.”

This was the sentiment expressed by a group of angry residents from Homevalley in Ward 3 last week, who felt they were sidelined in terms of the issuing of title deeds.

The residents contacted Express Northern Cape following an article published on February 24 this year, according to which the Sol Plaatje Municipality promised that more title deeds would be issued.

The article was about the first round of Ward 3 title deeds that were handed out on 17 February at the Homelite community hall.

Most of the residents in Homevalley have been living in their houses for over 20 years and were therefore excited by the news that they would soon own the houses lawfully.

According to the complainants, who claim that they were referred to the Galeshewe municipal offices, they also want their remaining title deeds to be brought nearer to them, just like the first recipients.

“We have been waiting and waiting, but there are no title deeds,” they said.

They said they could not get a clear indication on where to go from their ward councilor Clifford Lewis, as he also claimed to have been sent from pillar to post.

The residents living in Homevalley want to know why a few of them did get their title deeds 20 years ago when they moved into their RDP houses, while the others were left out.

They further questioned why the Sol Plaatje Municipality did not bring their title deeds closer to them at the satellite offices, in order to allow them to pay their bills.

“It is best for these municipal offices to take our money when we pay our bills, but not to cater for our needs. I am unemployed and have difficulty walking, so why do I have to walk so far,” said another resident.

“We moved into these Homevalley houses when they were brandnew and were registered like everyone else, but my neighbours received their title deeds and I did not. There are roughly 144 houses in the area and we do not enjoy the same status. We were never informed at the time what the criteria were to get title deeds.

“I even passed up the opportunity of revamping this cracked house with the money I received when I was laid off by my company. That was all because I was not sure whether I would be staying or going,” said one disgruntled resident.

The Sol Plaatje Municipality continues to urge residents to be patient, as the title deeds are still being processed.

“We cannot just hand over the title deeds without following the proper channels.

There are still families with disputes that need to be settled.

So we will inform the different communities as soon as the title deeds are ready,” said Vaughn Settley, the housing chairperson at Sol Plaatje Municipality.

Meanwhile, the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs, Alvin Botes, convened a meeting with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) on Wednesday 6 April (see accompanying article).

MEC Botes’s deliberations with the representatives of the EAAB was centered around the Title Deeds Restoration Project (TDRP).

The department is aware that a number of beneficiaries of state-subsidised houses have not been issued with title deeds and furthermore that the Northern Cape has not been able to give exact figures of title deed backlogs.

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