The amount of housing beneficiaries without title deeds is a major concern.
Since 1994 to 2009 the province has registered 224 344 houses according to an article in Financial Mail.
The article also states that the low transfer rates of subsidised homes can be blamed on flawed administration processes which in turn delay the flow of subsidy funds from provincial housing departments to developers.
While our registrations are the highest with Gauteng and Western Cape this pales against a housing backlog in excess of 750 000 units in the province.
A title deed is one of two ways a person can get a leg-up and be freed from poverty.
The other is employment.
A title deed can be used as collateral to start a business and through this create further employment for others.
A title deed ceded to a bank can pay for education for one’s children or for alterations to a home, thus improving the value of a property.
It is pointless for a housing beneficiary to receive a house but no title deed to prove ownership.
There needs to be an integrated and multi-faceted approach to fast tracking this process.
Firstly there needs to be a comprehensive audit to ascertain the veracity of the problem.
Interns used previously in the department could be employed as enumerators in this process.
The idea of awarding a beneficiary with security of tenure on a serviced plot must be pursued further.
This would greatly reduce the delays in the registration process.
Innovative ways must be found with costing and working together with attorneys, housing developers NGO’s and municipal and provincial housing departments. The idea of competitions between developers, attorneys and housing providers to fast track the process has been successful in the Western Cape and would work just as well in this province.
I have asked the MEC for Human Settlements, Helen Sauls-August, to inform the legislature when she replies to her department’s 2010/11 annual report, to inform us about future plans and how this process can be fast tracked.
Next year I will be specifically focussing on this issue and asking for regular progress reports at portfolio committee meetings and community outreaches.
This is a serious issue and the province cannot fail the people on this matter.