Make 20m South Africans Property Owners Before 2020


I do not agree that “government must hand over all State-owned residential land to its occupants immediately, in freehold title deeds.” Furthermore, I do not agree that “all residents in dwelling units on communally held land in former homelands be given title to their homes” My view is that the security of tenure as guaranteed in sections 25 (6) and 26 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa is more important that ownership. People must be given a chance to explain what the type of tenure they want. Is it ownership of properties or any other form of tenure?

A number of people are not worried about title deeds. They are worried about security of tenure. Ownership of properties is not a solution to everything. We need to draw lessons from our past mistakes. The Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act 112 of 1991 was promulgated in South Africa. It was signed on the 27 June 1991. Its aim was to: “To provide for the upgrading and conversion into ownership of certain rights granted in respect of land; for the transfer of tribal land in full ownership to tribes; and for matters connected therewith.” As a result of this Act, the permission to occupy (PTOs) for people who were occupying houses in townships were upgraded into ownership. Each family was requested to submit one person and the property was registered in the name of that person. This created a number of problems. When people were having PTOs each family member was listed as the occupant in the PTO. When these rights were converted to ownership the state listed one family member in the title deed as the owner. The people who are listed in the title deeds as owners have evicted their family members from the houses. The eviction was very difficult before the conversion because each family member was listed in the PTO.

The issue of using the “property as security” is also problematic. A number of people have lost properties because they have used them as securities when they have taken loans from banks and failed to service the loans. The banks have foreclosed and sold those properties.I agree that the “RDP housing handover should be easily implemented as all of these properties are already documented in the names of their assigned legal occupants.” However, it is common knowledge that in most instances the housing lists, the allocation process, and the decision-making process has been riddled with fundamental errors that it is quite clear that it has been conducted in the most opaque and arbitrary fashion. As a result, in most instances people who were supposed to benefit did not benefit. A number of people who were manifestly eligible for allocation has been excluded and they were replaced with people who did not even apply. As a result, the issuing of title deeds is problematic. The state needs to go back to the drawing board.


LRC Guest Contributor – Thabiso Mbhense

Thabiso Mbhense is an Attorney currently employed by Legal Resources Centre. He holds Baccalaureus Iuris (B Iuris) Degree and Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from University of KwaZulu Natal. He was employed as a candidate attorney by University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Law Clinic in 2003. When he was employed as a candidate attorney he was specialising in cases involving land reform, eviction in rural areas, domestic violence, child maintenance, divorce, labour, family matters, curator bonis and curator ad litem applications.

He was admitted as an attorney in 2005. He is currently specialising in cases involving rural and urban evictions, land reform, housing, provision of basic services, upgrading of informal settlements, acquisition of land and land claims.

He has appeared in the Magistrates’ Court, High Court, Land Claims Court, CCMA and Supreme Court of Appeal.

Inspired by our history, the Constitution and international human rights standards, the LRC is committed to a fully democratic society based on the principle of substantive equality. The LRC seeks to ensure that the principles, rights and responsibilities enshrined in our national Constitution are respected, promoted, protected and fulfilled.