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SPEECH BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE

Note to editors: the following speech will be delivered by City of Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, at the official handover ceremony of 45 title deeds for the residents of Steurhof that will be held at the South Peninsula High School at 19:00 tonight.

Good evening, goeie naand, molweni, as-salaam alaikum, shalom.

I am here tonight to deliver on a promise that I made to all of you a few years ago. On 19 December 2012 I handed over letters of commitment for the transfer of Council rental units in Steurhof, Diep River.We signed agreements of sale with Steurhof residents who were beneficiaries that succeeded in a land claim with the Regional Land Claims Commission.

On that day we started the process of securing full property ownership for residents of Steurhof.

During apartheid, the Group Areas Act led to your unjust eviction from the place which you had called home.

The place where you had built a life, created families and raised your children was forcibly removed from you in the most cruel manner.

In a situation where many could have lost hope after decades of waiting, you did not stop fighting and returned to your properties after the dawn of democracy.

But justice had not yet been restored.

You still were not recognised as the owners of these homes.

You have still been forced to live in the legacy of our very sad and dark past.

But tonight we come together because the fight is finally over.

This was a very long fight.

We had many obstacles and many doors close in our faces.

The City also delayed the transfer unnecessarily.

But we have all worked together, and didn’t give up hope.

Tonight I am happy to announce that we have finally completed that process.

The title deed registration has now been completed at last!

Tonight is the night that 45 of you become home owners.

This was an incredibly long and challenging process for the City, but we kept going because we saw it as a chance to right some of the wrongs of our past.

Building an inclusive city is one of the most important things that we have set out to do.

Fundamental to this process is a commitment to redress and reconciliation.

We need to do everything that we can to give all the people of Cape Town a sense of belonging.

We can only all move forward when those who have previously been excluded are given a hand up to lift themselves out of the injustices of the past.

We have been working hard to eradicate the backlog which exists with title deed transfers linked to older housing projects.

In 2012 we identified 25 000 title deeds for transfer.

More than half of the approximately 25 000 historic title deeds which were identified have been completed.

We have transferred more than 14 200 deeds in just over three years.

If we are given another chance to govern, the City will intensify our efforts to address those remaining 10 000 transfers.

We have committed significant time and resources to this project because ownership is key to addressing the economic exclusion still faced by too many people in our country.

When people become property owners, they can unlock other economic opportunities.

Your credit worthiness increases.

You stand to benefit from the return on investment on an appreciating asset, not only for the improvement of your own lives but also that of your children.

You can now have wills which help build the future of your children and perhaps even their children.

I want to wish you well on the beginning of a new chapter in your lives.

Thank you for not giving up the fight. Thank you for not giving up on us. Thank you for your patience.

I thank you.

God bless.

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