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Title deeds handed over in Alex
Written by Makoena Pabale   
17 May 2011
 

Several people received their title deeds in person in Alexandra, but there are still almost a thousand waiting to be collected at the council offices.

HAROLD Manciya of house number 5224 Extension 7 in Alexandra could not believe his ears when his name was called to get a title deed for his house.

 

MMC for housing Ruby Mathang
MMC for housing Ruby Mathang
The wheelchair-bound Manciya could not stop smiling as he wheeled his way to the front. “I am ecstatic, over the moon and very excited,” he said. “If I had money, I [would] have a braai to celebrate.”

 

Manciya, who lives alone, explained that he was happy to finally have full ownership of the house he had been occupying for the past four years. He was one of 40 Extension 7 residents who received their title deeds from the City’s member of the mayoral committee for housing, Ruby Mathang, on 14 May.

Mathang told people that a title deed meant money in their pocket because they would be able to give their houses as security when applying for business and personal loans. He also shared that it meant that they would be able to leave an inheritance to their children.

“A title deed allows you to have a lot of opportunities because a house is an immovable asset and its value appreciates with time.”

He said the City of Joburg was dedicated to returning dignity to disadvantaged people and would not rest for as long as people lived in abject poverty. “Our South Africa must be changed. It should be different; it should not be the South Africa of yesterday but it should be a developed South Africa of the future.”

Just 40 title deeds were issued on the day, but the spokesperson for the City’s housing department, Bubu Xuba, explained that there were 980 title deeds available for residents of Extension 7 to collect at their nearest housing offices.

Extension 7 is located on the East Bank of Alexandra. There are 1 407 RDP houses occupied by former shack dwellers from the Old Alexandra. It has electricity, running water and tarred roads.


Renewal project
It falls under the Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP), which was launched by former president Thabo Mbeki in February 2001. The project, which focused on improving living conditions in Alex through building houses, creating green open space, building libraries and sports stadiums, upgrading existing cemeteries, skills development training and opening shopping centres, was to be implemented over seven years with an estimated budget of R1,3-billion.

 

Extension 7 is home to
Extension 7 is home to more than a thousand households
In April 2008, it was extended for two years by Nomvula Mokonyane, who was the Gauteng MEC for housing at the time. Mokonyane is now the premier of Gauteng.

 

In the first phase of the ARP in 2001, 11 000 residents were moved from the banks of the Jukskei River, an area prone to floods, to Bram Fischerville, in Soweto and Diepsloot, in the north of Joburg.

During this first phase, which ended in 2004, several housing projects were completed, including 880 houses in River Park, 181 houses in Extension 8, over 1 400 units in Extension 7, 520 rented rooms on the East Bank, 52 RDP flats in Marlboro, 350 social housing units in Old Alexandra and 298 hostel rooms converted in Old Alexandra.

From 2005, the ARP undertook to build 9 500 RDP houses, 5 700 affordable rental houses, 2 500 upgraded hostels, 2 850 social housing units and 950 bonded and credit linked houses to meet the original target of relocating 25 000 households from Old Alexandra.

Alexandra has a rich history and is home to cultural icons, activists and sporting personalities. It was established in 1912 on land originally owned by a farmer, who tried to establish a white residential township.

However, the plan did not work because it was far from Joburg city. As a result, the area was declared a native township. By 1916, the population of Alex, as it is affectionately known, had grown to 30 000 people.

Today, the heavily populated area borders on and contrasts with Sandton, one of the wealthiest suburbs in South Africa. In the past, Alex was characterised by scarcity of land, lack of proper houses and a high unemployment rate. But in recent years, it has been rejuvenated through the presidential ARP.


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