What does ti­tling en­tail?

CityPress - - Busi­ness -

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.

PHO­TOS: LUCKY NX­U­MALO

EM­POW­ER­ING PEO­PLE FMF di­rec­tor Perry Feld­man started the Khaya Lam pro­ject

in 2008 in Parys. About 700 deeds have been trans­ferred to be­come un­re­stricted, fully trad­able pri­vate prop­er­ties

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