At Standard Bank, we’ve long believed that a title deed is the first step towards true economic empowerment. With this belief as our compass, we partnered with the Free Market Foundation (FMF) in an initiative to extend home ownership to underprivileged South Africans.
The result? 100 title deeds were issued to former occupiers of council properties in the community of Kwakwatsi, Koppies, in the Free State on 5 October.
Free Market Foundation Executive Director Leon Louw said that the organisation is “delighted” to partner with us in this initiative, explaining that, as Kwakwatsi is seriously economically deprived, “there is no better place for Standard Bank to put its money.”
With the 1913 Land Act banning ownership by black South Africans, the objective of the FMF’s Khaya Lam (My Home) Land Reform Project is to assist in having all council-owned properties countrywide upgraded to full freehold title. The Foundation asserts that black land deprivation was the single worst element of the colonial and apartheid eras, and that little has changed since 1994. Between five million and seven million black and coloured families still live as tenants or without ownership rights in houses they have occupied for generations. There has been no systematic conversion of these ‘council owned’ and ‘traditional community’ properties to full, unrestricted ownership. While the process of a land audit is still winding its way through parliament – phase two is due to be processed by Cabinet at the end of October – citizens are seeking solutions today.
According to Andrew van der Hoven, Head of Home Loans at Standard Bank, the title deeds handover is an important step towards giving many more people in our country the full benefits, security and pride associated with owning a home. Though he cautioned that there is still a long journey ahead to achieving land reform, significant strides in uplifting the lives of citizens can be made if people and organisations work together.
“Standard Bank is really excited to be able to support this initiative and partner with important stakeholders to make a difference as we hand over these 100 title deeds to proud, new home owners,” said Mr van der Hoven.
The title deeds were presented personally by the Deputy Mayor of Ngwathe Municipality, and Boitumelo Phungwayo, Head of Affordable Housing Products & Strategic Partners at Standard Bank PBB Products.