Title deed issue tackled

2017-06-21 06:01
Alvin Botes (MEC for CoGHSTA, left) and Themba Mthethwa, the newly appointed human settlement ombudsman, address the media. Photo: Boipelo Mere

Alvin Botes (MEC for CoGHSTA, left) and Themba Mthethwa, the newly appointed human settlement ombudsman, address the media. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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The Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA) in the Northern Cape has been applauded by the DA for its efforts in dealing with the issuing of title deeds.

This follows a one-day workshop at which premier Sylvia Lucas and Alvin Botes (MEC for CoGHSTA), together with Themba Mthethwa (the newly appointed human settlement ombudsman) and Sekepe Thobejane (the ministerial task team member allocated to Northern Cape service providers), discussed the issue to find a way forward.

The meeting is also reported to have addressed, among other issues, the performance of service providers, claims and procedures to realise 30-day payments, as well as creating the opportunity to reflect extensively on the correct Extended Public Works Programme data reporting.

The ombudsman was appointed by the minister of Human Settlement, Lindiwe Sisulu. Mthethwa will oversee the resolution of all outstanding disputes within human settlements. He is expected to address issues of eviction, the late payment of contractors and the incorrect allocation of title deeds.

Thobejane, on the other hand, will be mandated by the minister to oversee all restoration of justice projects within the province.

“He has to ensure that all people who are entitled to title deeds, actually receive these,” said Botes.

He added a new strategy would be followed to ensure people receive title deeds as soon as they get access to their houses.

“On the allocation of service side, we are going to start transfers of property to the people to ensure that there is no backlog or battle between the actual site allocation and the building of the house.”

He added this was the biggest problem area that they had de­tected within title deeds allocation.

The DA leader Andrew Louw, said it was about time that the department did something towards a solution to the title deeds issue.

The Northern Cape, especially the Sol Plaatje Municipality, has witnessed many cases in which family members were involved in disputes over title deeds.

Several cases have also emerged of people living in RDP houses not being the plot owners, which has been a continuous battle for the department and the municipality to solve.

“I come from a past in which my parents never had the opportunity to possess a title deed. And when I think about that, it pains me, because a title deed can be used as collateral,” said Louw.

During the tabling of his department’s 2017-’18 budget vote in the Frances Baard District Municipal Chambers, Botes emphasised the collaboration between CoGHSTA and the Estate Agency Affairs Board’s Title Deeds Restoration Project.

He said the project was aimed at securing tenure and clearing pro­perty rights for housing beneficiaries in order to improve their economic participation in the property market through wealth creation.

The backlog presented nationally in the implementation plan is 24 865, whereby all municipalities are tasked to appoint dedicated conveyancers to the complete process.

The deeds office based in Kimberley is expected to accelerate the lodgement of deeds.

The DA expressed concern that title deeds were being politicised, especially during elections.

“I therefore urge the MEC, let us give those who qualify their title deeds now, because title deeds are not something that only emerge during election time,” said Louw.

“Stop playing politics with the livelihood of people.”

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