‘Fight is finally over’

2016-06-14 06:00
Marlene Coezett, a Steurhof resident, was one of the 45 people that received their title deeds that were handed over by Patricia De Lille, the mayor of Cape Town.

Marlene Coezett, a Steurhof resident, was one of the 45 people that received their title deeds that were handed over by Patricia De Lille, the mayor of Cape Town.

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It was an evening of jubilation at Steurhof in Diep River last week as 45 residents received their title deeds.

The title deeds were officially handed over on Thursday 2 June by mayor Patricia de Lille at the South Peninsula High School.

De Lille said she was there to deliver on a promise made years ago. “On 19 December 2012 I handed over letters of commitment for the transfer of council rental units in Steurhof. We signed agreements of sale with residents who were beneficiaries that succeeded in a land claim with the Regional Land Claims Commission.”

De Lille said during apartheid, the Group Areas Act led to unjust eviction of these home owners. “In a situation where many could have lost hope after decades of waiting, none of them stopped fighting. You have still been forced to live in the legacy of our very sad and dark past, but tonight we come together because the fight is finally over,” she said.

De Lille was quick to admit that it was an incredibly long and challenging process for the City, but they kept going because they saw it as a chance to right some of the wrongs of the past.

“Building an inclusive city is one of the most important things that we have set out to do. Fundamental to this process is a commitment to redress and reconciliation. We need to do everything that we can to give all the people of Cape Town a sense of belonging. We can only all move forward when those who have previously been excluded are given a hand up to lift themselves out of the injustices of the past.”

In 2012 the City identified 25 000 title deeds for transfer. More than half of the historic title deeds which were identified have been completed, De Lille says.

“We have committed significant time and resources to this project because ownership is key to addressing the economic exclusion still faced by too many people in our country. When people become property owners, they can unlock other economic opportunities. Your credit worthiness increases. You stand to benefit from the return on investment on an appreciating asset – not only for the improvement of your own lives, but also that of your children. You can now have wills which help build the future of your children and perhaps even their children,” she says.

“Thank you for not giving up the fight. Thank you for not giving up on us. Thank you for your patience. I want to wish you well on the beginning of a new chapter in your lives.”

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