Steurhof land claimants home owners at last

From left, ward councillor Carol Bew, Mayor Patricia de Lille,, Mayco member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen and Steurhof community leader Desiree de Lange.

Mayor Patricia de Lille officially handed over 45 title deeds to Steurhof residents at an official ceremony held at the South Peninsula High School last week.

This follows a commitment on December 19, 2012 for the transfer of council rental units in Diep River to beneficiaries that succeeded in a land claim with the Regional Land Claims Commission (“A place to call home”, Bulletin January 10, 2013).

In March 2007, 36 families representing 49 percent of the Steurhof claimant community opted for housing development as compensation for their lost tenancy rights.

The remaining 51 percent of the claimants received financial compensation. Since 2009 Ward 73 councillor Carol Bew has spearheaded the restitution process, prioritising the elderly because they “are most at risk and have been dreaming of this opportunity for many years”.

At the handover, Ms Bew said it was an historic moment and the “dawn of a new era for Steurhof Estate”.

“Many of you have waited a long time for this to happen and never gave up hope. Your perseverance and long suffering has been rewarded and tonight is the final step in becoming a proud homeowner in the Steurhof Estate,” said Ms Bew.

Ms De Lille said City officials 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 and presently more than half have been completed. We have transferred more than 14 200 deeds in just over three years with 10 000 transfers remaining,” she said.

She said ownership is key to addressing the economic exclusion still faced by too many people in the 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,” said Ms De Lille.