Don’t sell your RDP house, Cyril warns new owners
Home ownership is a form of radical economic transformation, he tells beneficiaries in Kokstad
Wrinkled with age, octogenarian Nombulelo Thelejana braved the chilly seven-degree rainy weather, wrapped herself in a brown and green blanket and donned a red beanie – all to get a title deed from President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday.
It was a special moment for the 80-year-old granny from Franklin township outside Kokstad. She is now the owner of a low-cost, three-room government house. It’s the first property she’s had in her own name, and a permanent place to call home.
She was among 10 of 400 beneficiaries of the low-cost Franklin housing project who received their title deeds from Ramaphosa, who was accompanied by Human Settlements Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo.
Thelejana savoured every moment of the special day.
“I feel very good. What else can I say?” said Thelejane, who shares the house with her three grandchildren.
Ramaphosa described the handing over of the title deeds as significant, “because it forms part of the work we are doing together to restore the dignity of South Africa’s people”.
“Since 1994, we have been working to correct this historical injustice by providing houses to the poor, undertaking land restitution and providing basic services like water and electricity.
“We have now embarked on a programme to accelerate land reform, which will provide land and support to black farmers, secure the property rights of all those who work and live on the land, and identify well-located areas for social housing in urban areas,” said Ramaphosa.
He said part of that programme was to give people the opportunity to own their own homes.
“In a country where the majority of the population have few, if any, assets, home ownership is a form of radical economic transformation. It improves the prospects not only for those who are given title deeds, but also the generations who will follow.”
A fellow beneficiary and octogenarian, Jiba Tseko, was equally excited as he made his way to the handover ceremony with the help of a walking stick.
Speaking in Sesotho, Tskeko told Times Select: “I’m thankful. I’m happy with the house. I no longer get wet when it rains, unlike in my previous years.”
The three-bedroom houses have a kitchen and a flushing toilet. The R37m low-cost housing project was built by the Greater Kokstad Municipality in conjunction with the KwaZulu-Natal human settlements department.
It is one of nine projects that are at various stages of completion, although some have been blocked owing to a forensic investigation into allegations of corruption relating to the allocation of houses to beneficiaries.
The Greater Kokstad Municipality, which covers about 2,680 square kilometres and has a population in excess of 65,981, has a high unemployment rate, which results in a high poverty index.
The municipality is in the Harry Gwala District and is bordered by the Matatiele municipality and Lesotho to the west, the Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma municipality to the north, Umuziwabantu municipality to the south-east, and the Eastern Cape to the east.
Ramaphosa said home ownership could contribute to improved educational outcomes and reduce household poverty since families were more secure and communities more stable.
“We are issuing title deeds as part of the broader effort to put our people at the centre of service delivery. We are delivering on our commitment to transform South Africa to the benefit of all, particularly the poor.”
However, the president warned the beneficiaries of low-cost government houses against selling them to other people – a practice affecting RDP houses throughout the country.
“It’s an asset in your hands that you own your house. Those who are not on the list [of beneficiaries], we’re coming to you because we have land to build more houses here in Kokstad, here in Franklin,” said Ramaphosa.
He also promised Franklin residents, who rely on a mobile clinic, that a proper clinic was on its way.
“You’re very fortunate to have a municipality that has developed this township. There are still many things that are still coming your way,” said Ramaphosa, who also presented Fundaphi Mdledle, 42, with an electric wheelchair.