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‘Redressing past wrongs’: Kayamandi residents get title deeds after waiting for decades

‘Redressing past wrongs’: Kayamandi residents get title deeds after waiting for decades
From left: Nozuko Finini, Patricia Mjungu and Louisa Alexander are Kayamandi residents who continue to wait for title deeds. (Photo: Joel Ontong)

Last week, 27 title deeds were handed over to residents of Kayamandi on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. Some had been waiting for more than 20 years to own a house.

Some residents of the Stellenbosch township of Kayamandi have expressed relief after finally receiving their title deeds. Some had been waiting for this moment for more than two decades.

Kayamandi is considered a developing township with a population estimated in 2011 to be around 25,000. The figure today is likely to be far higher.

Residents react

kayamandi nkqayi

Luleka Nkqayi and Mbulelo Golden Nkqayi are Kayamandi residents who run a local creche. (Photo: Joel Ontong)

Kayamandi resident Luleka Nkqayi, who runs a crèche in the area, received her title deed after waiting for 25 years. She and her husband moved to the township in 1998 after they had applied for an RDP house.

On finally receiving her title deed, Nkqayi said: “We are very happy for this because we have been staying for a long time in [this] house without a title deed… And we were not happy because we couldn’t make sure it was our house.

“For getting the title deed, [the municipality] came to us and asked for our documents and the [details] about the children who are staying with us. So, if we are dead, they are going to be the ones who will stay in the house,” Nkqayi said.

However, there were administrative challenges and long delays.

“But, after a long time, they said the title deeds are on their way. So, they gave us a date and a month for giving the title deeds to us.” Having ownership of their home has put her and her husband’s minds at ease, said Nkqayi.

She also wanted other Kayamandi residents to be assured that they would eventually receive their deeds. 

“They know they are going to get it because the municipality is showing the truth to us,” she said. “[The mayor] showed the truth… that she can do this.”

Nkqayi also expressed gratitude to her local councillor, Maxwell Danana, for his help in the process.

kayamandi alexander

Louisa Alexander is a Kayamandi resident who waited for her title deed for 23 years. (Photo: Joel Ontong)

Louisa Alexander waited 23 years for her title deed.

“Since I’ve been here, I’ve been happy. There was no problem. My children have grown up here,” she said. Over the years, Alexander has seen Kayamandi become more densely populated. She said that even if she could afford to buy a new house, she would not leave Kayamandi.

Not having a title deed caused her some anxiety and created tension in her household, she said. “You are stressing a little bit. I want to [give] a house for my daughter. I’m over 60 now – anything can happen. You want your things to be right when you go to your permanent bed.”

With the title deed, she feels she can now go forward with plans for her house and her family.

kayamandi mjungu

Patricia Mjungu is a resident of Kayamandi who has lived there for about 40 years. (Photo: Joel Ontong)

Patricia Mjungu has been living in Kayamandi for about 40 years and waited more than half that time for her title deed. 

“When you have the title deed you should be happy, because no one can take your house from you. The house is yours,” she said. 

Mjungu views the municipality’s title deed handovers as a positive improvement in Kayamandi and hopes to see more of the same happening. She also hopes that more people in Kayamandi can receive proper housing and that another clinic will be built in her area.

kayamandi finini

Nozuko Finini is a Kayamandi resident. (Photo: Joel Ontong)

Nozuko Finini has been living in Kayamandi since 1983 and has been waiting for her title deed since the mid-1990s. Although she is grateful, she says not much has changed for her as she was hoping to be reimbursed for building her home.

Though she enjoys living in Kayamandi, she is concerned about safety and high crime rates in the area, she said.

‘Creating empowerment’

Stellenbosch municipality has partnered with the Khaya Lam Project of the Free Market Foundation for the title deed handovers and processing, according to Stuart Grobbelaar, spokesperson for the council.

Between 2016 and 2023, the municipality has handed over 2,223 title deeds to residents in areas such as Kayamandi, Klapmuts, Kylemore, Groendal, Jamestown, Vlottenburg and others.

“Our housing department, in most cases with support from the Khaya Lam Project of the Free Market Foundation, works around the clock to track down, process, register and issue deeds,” said Grobbelaar. 

“This is a very time-consuming, laborious and costly task as it involves years of paperwork and tracking down the original beneficiary of the house,” he added.

“Ownership creates empowerment and opportunity. It’s a pathway to freedom that some of the beneficiaries have waited for their entire lives,” said Grobbelaar.

“Giving the residents ownership of their homes is a priority for the municipality because it helps to redress the injustices of the past.”

The next title deed handover is scheduled for later this month in Klapmuts. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Benjamin Cockram says:

    Individual ownership of land in townships and tribal land is essential step to a better life and real empowerment. The fact this isn’t happening everywhere is a crime and unfortunately not an issue well enough understood.

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