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

The following is an extract from a speech delivered by City of Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, at an event to hand over title deeds to Lagunya business owners, held at the Gugulethu Sports Complex today, 28 June 2016

Good morning, goeie môre, molweni, as-salaam alaikum, shalom.

Today is a day of great humility as well as pride.

I am humbled to be with you at the finish line of this long road of injustice which you travelled upon.Every single business owner here with us today has spent decades living a reality of unfairness.

I want to thank each of you, as well as the project steering committee and the Lagunya Business Association executive for their exemplary leadership.

Righting the wrongs of the past is our most important task if we ever want to successfully build an inclusive city.

This means including those who were, and continue to be, excluded.

We know that apartheid excluded people from each other.

It excluded people from certain places.

It excluded people from the economy.

This is why it is important to create opportunities for those who were previously excluded so that they can be empowered to fight the legacy which still haunts them.

Business owners in the Lagunya area are one such example.

During the apartheid era, your businesses were given permits to lease properties from the old iKapa Town Council.

But you were never allowed to own them.

I really commend and admire your perseverance.

I have heard the heart-breaking story of Dr Kwezi Madikiza who was one of the first black doctors to graduate from the Wits Medical School.

He came back to his community and opened a surgery, operating as one of the only doctors not far from here, in Gugulethu, NY6.

Sadly, Dr Madikiza retired and passed in 2009, never being recognised as the official owner of the premises.

As a caring city, we were really moved by these struggles.

We took the decision to alienate over 100 properties in the Lagunya area and sell them to the tenants at the reduced rate of R20 per m².

We also subsidised the transfer fees of R3 092 for each of the tenants.

We have already transferred 81 title deeds thus far out of a total of 109.

The remaining 26 are currently with the transferring attorneys.

We will soon have empowered 109 Lagunya business owners.

Ownership is transformation because it unlocks economic opportunities.

These owners can now take out loans, expand their businesses, and create more jobs.

This is creating sustainable economic development in the Lagunya area.

Our path with you as business owners has not ended because we have identified additional ways in which we can be of assistance.

Next week, our Economic Development Department will meet with the Executive of the Lagunya Business Association in order to see how we can unblock some of the obstacles which you are still facing.

The City has undertaken to link you with existing business support programmes so that you can re-evaluate your existing business ventures.

We will introduce you to, and if suitable host, existing business skills training programmes which will be at no cost to you, so that you can further expand your businesses.

We will also be investigating access to possible franchise opportunities and identify which business funding opportunities exist for your enterprises.

I would like to appeal to major banks and private sector companies to come forward and offer any support which they may have available, perhaps as part of their corporate social Initiatives.

I look forward to seeing all your businesses grow from strength to strength, and seeing the amazing impact that this will have on the Lagunya area at large.

One of the recipients also here with us today, Mr Combi, says that despite the constraint of delay, he now looks forward to seeing high-rise buildings developing in Langa.

I share in his vision and anticipation.

Going forward, we commit to intensifying our efforts to unlock these kinds of opportunities for even more businesses across the city.

I would like to wish everyone here a wonderful next chapter, marked by prosperity.

I thank you.

God bless.

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