THE time has come for Johannesburg residents who have been waiting for years to receive title deeds to their very own houses; 300 people will be given their title deeds by Executive Mayor Parks Tau on 17 January at Helderfontein Conference Centre in Kyalami.
This ceremony is part of the rollout of the Johannesburg Property Company’s land regularisation programme, which falls under the banner of its My Land, My Heritage project. “This event is set to be an emotional and extraordinary day for these residents of our city, and it will be a great honour for me to hand over these documents which signify advancement on so many levels,” says Tau.
It comes under the ambit of Joburg 2040, the City’s Growth and Development Strategy (GDS), which was launched in October 2011. Joburg 2040 guides the City’s long-term growth plan and vision for the next 30 years, going into 2040.
“Our collective and inclusive vision for the City of Johannesburg is one where community development, personal growth and social mobility are enhanced, so that challenges of poverty, vulnerability, inequality and social exclusion are fundamentally addressed,” he says. “The event marks another major step in the right direction towards achieving this.”
The Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) introduced its land regularisation programme in 2005, with the aim of auditing, verifying and transferring urban land to people who were previously unable to own land because of apartheid legislation. It comprises two phases: a full audit of council-owned land and identifying land release strategies, and implementing these release strategies.
“The land regularisation programme is unique to the City of Johannesburg, forming the basis of a sustainable property economy through expediting the transfer of properties to beneficiaries, as well as releasing vacant sites on public tender,” says the managing director of the JPC, Helen Botes.
Over the next three to five years, the programme aims to transfer and release about 3 700 properties in Alexandra, Soweto, Orange Farm and Ivory Park, she adds.
There are a variety of advantages of adopting the programme, particularly that it caters for the transfer of property to legitimate tenants. “By transferring the properties to beneficiaries – and simultaneously compiling a verifiable and more accurate asset register – the City is better placed to secure an increased rates base, while also contributing to the implementation of the City’s growth and development strategy,” says the member of the mayoral committee for economic development, Sello Lemao.
“The two-tiered programme focuses on firstly formulating property plans for earmarked areas. The second phase includes improving the sites and releasing them to beneficiaries.”
By doing this, the programme provides economic incentives to invest in strategic parcels of land and stimulates economic and social development.
With the help of the provincial housing department and the National Treasury, the JPC has been able to make the handover possible. Sponsors of the event on 17 January include Investec, Atterbury Property Developments, La Farge and Calgro M3 Holdings.