The following speech was delivered by the City’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, at a ceremony to hand over title deeds in Athlone on 14 February 2018.
Thank you all for being here this morning for such a happy occasion. It is occasions such as today that make my decision to serve the people of this country more fulfilling.
Looking at all of you right now, I’m filled with joy that people from different races and backgrounds can be in one place to celebrate progress.
You are all aware that many decades ago under apartheid this kind of gathering would have been impossible because of the cruelty of that oppressive government.
We all know that one of that government’s most criminal deeds was the Group Areas Act, where people of colour were forcibly removed from affluent neighbourhoods and had their homes close to the CBD taken from them.
To make matters worse, when the people were moved to Athlone, Mitchells Plain, Manenberg, Lavender Hill and other areas, many of them were not allowed to own those properties.
I’m thinking of Isabelle Ewers from Silvertown who has been anxiously waiting for more than 15 years for the transfer of the property to her family.
Isabelle, I know your husband passed away before this could be realised but I’m really happy that you and your son can finally call that house your own.
Charlotte Momberg from Heideveld, I know this has been an even longer wait for you and your family. That journey of 30 years is coming to an end for you today because now you can live in that house with your two children knowing that it belongs to you.
The City of Cape Town has made a commitment to redress the imbalances of apartheid and that is exactly what we are we are doing here today.
Giving people title deeds to the properties that they have been denied ownership of is one of the many ways in which we are dismantling the legacy of apartheid.
These 90 title deeds we are issuing today will ensure that the beneficiaries can claim ownership of the Community Residential Units they have called home for many years.
The title deed is more than just a piece of paper. It’s about restoring the dignity of our people who were forcibly removed and had their homes taken from them in the cruellest and most unjust way.
I hope that having ownership of your homes will restore your faith in this democracy. This will allow you to have something to leave behind for the next generation in your families.
Over the next few weeks, we have more title deeds that will be issued in Area Central which falls under councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli’s oversight.
This will be in areas such as Nyanga, Gugulethu, Valhalla Park, Bishop Lavis, Matroosfontein and Goodwood, among others.
The City has already issued 1 182 title deeds to residents in historical housing projects and 760 title deeds to residents living in Council saleable rental stock in the 2016/17 financial year,
We have been stepping up the delivery of these title deeds because as a caring City, we understand the value of home ownership and what it means for people who have previously been denied that right of ownership.
Since June 2017 the City has handed out 1 957 title deeds in areas across Cape Town.
This is a continuation of the work that we started during the 2011 – 2016 term of office when more than 11 000 title deeds were issued to residents.
This is also in line with our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan’s priorities to be a more customer-centric administration, to ensure excellence in service delivery and to ensure that our people have rights to tenure.
Let’s celebrate and take care of ourselves and these precious houses you now own. Thank you and God Bless.