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Title deeds backlog at 1 million in South Africa

Over 1 million people do not have the title deeds for their RDP homes, a reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed.

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This is based on an analysis of South Africa’s title deeds backlog in 2010. Three years later, the figure could very well be higher.

Title deeds protect property rights, allow owners to secure loans and pass the property on to family members when they die. Without title deeds, none of this can happen.

The backlog is therefore prohibiting poor households from fully benefitting from property ownership and participating in the economy.

In 2011 the DA-led Western Cape initiated a study to determine the extent of its title deed backlog and address it through a Title Deeds Programme – the first and only province to do so.

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Since then, the province has made significant strides to reduce its backlog and has issued over 20 000 title deeds in the process.

A title deed is much more than a piece of paper. It provides people with dignity, economic benefits and security of tenure. We must ensure that every South African enjoys this dignity.

The empowerment of individuals through land ownership and official title deed transfers is crucial if South Africa is serious about redressing the consequences of the 1913 Natives Land Act.

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