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Middelburg is a small town in the great Karoo that falls under the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality, in the Chris Hani District Municipality, Eastern Cape. Driving around the area you will admirer the scenery of historical buildings surrounded by beautiful mountains as it is an area known for it’s rich and natural striking herbal plant life. With such nature’s beauty and great potential in tourist attracting activities, as a resident in the area, who would dare say they would not love to own their own home?
To ensure a sustainable housing for the previously destitute families, the EC Department for Human Settlements MEC, Siphokazi Lusithi, handed over 643 title deeds in Middleburg alongside Mayor of Inxuba Yethemba, Cllr N. Zonke. The road to transformation is very long, and “transforming communities together” remains the department’s brand promise. The most important thing for the department is fulfilling that promise through provision of integrated sustainable Human Settlements with improved quality of household as per the department’s vision statement. Provision of title deeds thereof stand as proof that every homeowner is rightfully placed and the title deed legally binds the owner in their rightful government subsidised houses.
“Protect that piece of paper the same way you protect your marriage certificate, it gives you proof of ownership of your house, this house is a legacy and inheritance for your children and their children.” Said MEC whilst addressing the community on the day. “Let us secure what we already have. It’s your responsibility to make sure that you protect what has been given to you” MEC added.
The recipients that benefitted are from two housing developments in Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality called Middleburg Midros and Kwanonzame. The Department together with the local municipality went through a verification process to ensure that the rightful beneficiaries received their title deeds. This process also assisted in ensuring that existing and possible challenges regarding human settlements were addressed in that municipality.
The event also formed part of the rollout of the National Title Deeds Restoration Programme which seeks to prioritise and accelerate the issuing of title deeds to rightful beneficiaries. This program is important because it brings back dignity to our people, families and all those that are destitute.
MEC explained to the community members who filled the hall that in the current economic state the more job losses there are result in increased demand for housing. And as the demand for government subsidised houses increase with social ills, the budget shrinks. “We are not where we want to be, but with all these small victories and achievements, we will celebrate because it gives hope. Restoration of people’s dignity is in the process of patience from the one waiting for their house to be built while another person is receiving theirs.”-MEC said.
One by one, Human Settlements offers our communities a better living environment. It is for a good reason that the department of Human Settlements is no longer department of housing. It goes beyond the actual house.
A 91 years old Mama Ntombizodwa Mobo was enjoying one of nature’s pleasures (sunlight) in front of her house when the MEC and Mayor visited her to hand over her title deed. They both talked with Mama, describing why the title deed is important and why she should keep it safe. ”I am full of joy. I am very happy, it is because I would sit and wonder when I would get my title deed, I will put this important paper where I store my grant papers”.- said Mama Mobo as she was receiving her title deed.
The Department has embarked on a Title Deeds Restoration Programme to address the backlog and thus ensuring access to adequate housing and full homeownership.

Dignity restored for thousands of Eastern Cape destitute families through housing delivery

Dignity restored for thousands of Eastern Cape destitute families through housing delivery

Dozens of Eastern Cape destitute families continue to benefit from the delivery of decent quality houses, reshaping their lives and the Provincial landscape. More than 28 000 destitute and vulnerable families have been provided with houses by the Eastern Cape Provincial Government through the Department of Human Settlements, in the current term of administration. This shows good progress as the province is changing the narrative as far as service delivery is concerned. This is one of the commitments made by the ruling government, of serving the Eastern Cape citizenry and upholding the responsibility to effectively provide quality homes thereby restoring the people’s dignity. A reported case on the plight of a 32-yearold Amalinda mother of three who found herself homeless after her shack burnt down, leaving her without any belongings including identity document, saw South African Social Services Agency (SASSA) move swiftly to ensure that the family receive appropriate social grants to change their plight.
To ensure qualifying individuals who are not in possession of identification due to various reasons access social grants and improve their livelihoods, government has put policies in place to allow citizens to benefit whilst still awaiting identification documents. The South African Social Services Agency (SASSA) Regulation (13.1) of the Social Security Act 2004 stipulates that the Agency may accept alternative proof or any supporting documents for an application of a social grant to make the process easier. Such situations include a person who have never had an identity document or birth certificate.
In situations where these documents have been destroyed or lost, One of the beneficiaries, 84- year-old Ntonga Notshu from Mqanduli, was elated when she was notified that her name was amongst those identified and deserving families, following natural disasters that destroyed her house in the area. Even the relatively cold weather conditions on the day of the handing over could not dampen her spirits, as she eagerly waited for her new house, and her life changing for the better. The story of mama Notshu is much familiar to many families in the province who had to seek refuge from neighbours after natural disasters destroyed their homes. She stated that the house brought positive change to her family.
“I am very excited to receive the house. Previously I was staying in a delipidated mud structure for years with my grandchildren, but today it is a different story. The entire family is joyful knowing that we have a quality house that cannot be easily affected by disasters,” said Notshu. The department has made strides in executing its priorities which include provision of housing prioritising the destitute, vulnerable groups and military veterans, as well as the systematic unblocking of historically blocked projects, accelerated registration and issuing of title deeds to homeowners. Human settlements’ mandate requires to go beyond low-cost housing and create social, special, and economic integration through sustainable settlements with due consideration of mixed housing typologies. This is being done through strengthening relationships with stakeholders and developers to make a lasting impact on the landscape of the province. The Eastern Cape Government is committed to effectively coordinate and secure mutually supporting actions amongst all stakeholders to fast-track delivery of integrated and sustainable human settlements.