Homeowners, finally

Smiles as residents become official homeowners.
Smiles as residents become official homeowners.

It was a day of celebration as some local residents became homeowners for the first time after decades.

A total of 53 title deeds were handed over to residents in Retreat and surrounding areas, with the City of Cape Town vowing to continue this work across Cape Town.

Many residents have been living in houses in Retreat, St Montague Village, Seawinds and Steenberg for years, but could never call the place their own. However, things changed when they were handed their title deeds by the mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, last Tuesday.

Addressing the new homeowners, De Lille said they were celebrating a moment for which they had been waiting for a long time.

“Under Apartheid, the government took away people’s rights to dignity and ownership as people of colour were not allowed to own property. When we were elected into government we made a commitment to change that, and to undo the wrongs of the past through redress and reconciliation.”

She added: “We are aware that many of you have waited and might have given up hope, but today (Tuesday) we are handing over the proof that you now own the house in which you have been living. We are proud to share this moment with you, and to restore your dignity by giving you ownership of what could be your biggest asset.”

Residents Richard Bazil Rhode and Joan Rhode from Chopin Street in Retreat have been living here for more than 48 years.

Ghairoeniesa Oliver, a single parent living in the area for more than 40 years, now finally has the security of owning the roof over her and her children’s heads.

“The title deed is more than just a piece of paper – it is a symbol of our triumph over apartheid, and gives you a place to call your own. Legally the house is yours, and you can ensure that it stays in your family for generations to come.

“You can invest in it and turn it into something that you and your family can be proud of. We encourage you to be responsible property owners and to take care of your house as the City will not be responsible for repairs and maintenance any longer,” said De Lille.

The mayor concluded by wishing the official homeowners all of the best. “We will be celebrating this milestone with many more residents across Cape Town as we give them their right to ownership,” she said.

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