Huge backlog in issuing title deeds deprive EC residents of opportunity

Issued by Sanele Magaqa, MPL
Shadow MEC for Human Settlements

There are more than 65 000 households in the Eastern Cape who are waiting for the issuing of their title deeds of their Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) properties.

The DA is calling on the MEC for Human Settlements, Siphokazi Lusithi, to review the Title Deed Restoration Project and put mechanisms in place to clear the backlog as soon as possible, so that our people can sleep soundly, knowing that the roof over their heads belongs to them.

In response to a parliamentary question, MEC Lusithi revealed that while there were 218 864 title deeds registered and issued in the Eastern Cape between 1994 and 30 September 2022, there was still a backlog of 65 632 title deeds.

The biggest backlog is in Buffalo City Municipality, with a backlog of 19 221, followed by the Sarah Baartman District with a backlog of 14 504, and Nelson Mandela Bay with a backlog of 12 800 title deeds.

Download response.

The issuing of title deeds needs to be a priority for the Department of Human Settlements, as it is a vital step in restoring the dignity of our people. A title deed is the apex of the housing value chain, as it legalises home ownership and provides security of tenure.

It enables the ownership of the property to pass on to family members in the event of death and also allows the owner to leverage the property to access credit.

Despite having established the Title Deed Restoration Project within the Department, the rollout of title deeds has been moving at an unacceptable pace.

This has resulted in beneficiaries being difficult to trace, people illegally occupying houses that do not belong to them, properties being sold illegally, and complications resulting from the death of the original beneficiary.

According to the Human Settlements 21/22 Annual Report, in the last financial year, the Department was only able to issue 1 930 title deeds, out of their targeted 4 503.

At the current performance, it will take another 34 years to deal with the backlog. Even if the Department meets its annual targets, it will take another 14 years to clear the backlog.

The delays are simply unacceptable. For the past 28 years, the current ANC government has promised the people of this province that they will have adequate housing. Yet, even when they do eventually build the houses, they are unable to pass ownership over to the rightful beneficiaries.

The DA acknowledges that human settlements in South Africa are a complex issue, which makes it imperative to make progress on all fronts using all available instruments.

The DA will continue to fight for the rights of our people to have ownership of their homes, so that these can become real economic assets.