What does titling entail?
Libertarian think-tank the Free Market Foundation (FMF) this week passed on a third tranche of title deeds as part of its Khaya Lam land reform project.
It aims to convert municipal leasehold properties in townships into fully tradable private properties by using private donations.
The project was started in 2008 by FMF director and Parys resident Perry Feldman.
Tumahole is near the town of Parys in the Ngwathe Local Municipality.
The pilot project was launched in 2012 and the first deeds were handed over in 2013.
At the time, the FMF made bold statements about titling all erven in the municipality, which it estimates to be at 17 000, within a few years.
About 700 have been done or nearly done, and the mechanics of the process are still being ironed out.
“People didn’t trust us, but it’s a reality,” says Feldman, dismissing concerns about the initial slow progress.
The FMF has set up an office at Tumahole’s municipal offices where Jeanette Mpondo, the FMF’s land reform liaison officer, receives applications, collects the necessary documents and prepares the applications for lodging.
After that, it is mostly a question of funding the applications, says Feldman.
Following initial sponsorships for 200 transfers each from FNB and retail mogul Christo Wiese, the FMF hopes to appeal to more wealthy benefactors and corporations, while local commercial farmers have also started sponsoring transfers.
It requires R1 850 per property, which covers about R1 000 for the conveyancing services of the small Parys law firms getting the work, as well as the administration costs.
According to Jan du Toit, one of the lawyers conducting the conveyancing for Khaya Lam, it is still “quite a lot of work” for a modest profit on each transfer.
The project only applies to people who are the registered occupiers of a municipal property in a formally surveyed township. They must also be indigent.
“We have to go into self-funding,” says Feldman.
This means employed residents must put Townships such as Tumahole were created, legally speaking, by the Black Communities Development Act of 1984 and its amendments in the final crisis-ridden days of apartheid.
The act marked the point where the white government belatedly accepted that black South Africans would, and in fact already did, permanently reside in South Africa, as opposed to the homelands or in transitory workers’ hostels.
It created the 99-year lease system and, in 1991, the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act created the simplified process for converting these into full title.
The FMF is picking up this transitionary arrangement that was overtaken by the larger land restitution and RDP programmes after 1994.
The biggest benefit of the process is that, unlike a normal property transfer, it does not require a municipal rates clearance certificate and also cuts down on transfer duties.
EMPOWERING PEOPLE FMF director Perry Feldman started the Khaya Lam projectin 2008 in Parys. About 700 deeds have been transferred to become unrestricted, fully tradable private properties