Hyde Park residents received their title deeds after a 27-year wait, after then community worker and now councillor Norman Adonis expedited the handover within six-months.
More than 160 residents received their title deeds at Olifantshoek community hall on Wednesday June 21.
Maczineth Elizabeth Malaya, 61, said it was indeed a privilege to be a home owner.
“For years we lived in other people’s homes and we were moved from pillar to post,” she said.
Kashiefa Jordaan, 54, said Mr Adonis had taken their names and that it was a collective effort to get to this point of title deed handover.
Wheelchair bound Porsia Petersen, 43, shouted out thanks and praise as the recipients were explained the process of collecting their documents, looking after their asset and that they had been given their “dignity” to be home owners.
“I got my own house. I am the first in my family. Neither my mom, nor my grandmother received a council home,” she said.
Ms Petersen looks forward to their son, 18, one day inheriting the home.
City of Cape Town housing official Benjamin van der Ross explained the importance of the title deed and that its replacement value was at R4 000.
He also explained the need to maintain and add value to their property.
“No longer will you be depended on the house in front to not switch off the electricity or close the toilet and you need to use a bucket. You are the owner of the property,” he said.
The council’s valuation of the property is at R300 000, based on the area and its neighbouring houses.
Mr Van der Ross said home improvements, including the installation of tiles, laminated flooring, ceiling and paving the drive-ways would stand them in good stead, when wanting to sell.
He said the municipal valuation should be kept below R450 000 to avoid residents being liable for rates.
“Maintain and look after your property. The safest place to put your money is in investing in your house. This is not a council house. I’m staying in my house. This is not a rental house. You are a home owner. You are a property owner. You have an asset of value,” he said.
Mr Van der Ross also encouraged residents to maintain their area, including damaged roads and dumping.
“The value of your area affects the value of your property. So, let’s starting looking out for each other. If that child litters then say pick up throw it in the bin. You have a role to play,” he said.
He said that any extension to the property would have to be approved by the City.
Mr Adonis said it was a historic occasion 20 years ago many did not have a house.
“After protests, erf numbers were handed over by myself as a community leader. Today, I’m proud to handover your title deed. Well done. You are now a property owner,” he said.
In 1995 as a community leader he had handed out lease agreements and now 27 years later he is distributing title deeds.
He pleaded with the recipients not to make rash decisions; to value to their asset; and to ensure that their wills and testaments are in order.
“Don’t make a mistake. Please do not now go and go sell your house to the merchant for R50 000 and the merchant gives you R10 000 in R10 notes. It has happened in other streets. Do not give your house to that guy,” he said.
Wolfgat Subcouncil manager Johnson Fetu said the City was making effort to restore what was taken.
“You’ve been waiting for so long and today is the day you can say it is mine,” he said.
He said there may be financial need but residents would only be short changing themselves by selling.
“Thank you to councillor Norman for all of the efforts in getting the boxes to my office and partners who work so hard to make things happen,” said Mr Fetu.
Sub-council chairman Solomon Philander said property owners should ensure their affairs were in order and not hand their houses over to their children, who may put them out and make them homeless.
Residents were also asked to insure their property and belongings in the event of fire, flooding or other disasters.