BetterBond ramps up efforts to give title deeds to poor home owners

News > Lifestyle & Architecture - 22 Mar 2019

Adequate housing is a basic human right enshrined in Section 26 of South Africa’s Constitution as well as Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.*

“But while it is true that more than half of SA’s 16m households live in homes they regard as their own, a very large percentage of them do not hold the title deeds to those homes,” notes Rudi Botha, CEO of SA’s leading bond originator BetterBond.** 

“This means that they have no proof of ownership, and thus effectively have no guaranteed tenure, which makes a mockery of their constitutional right. They live with the constant threat of eviction, even from homes they have built themselves or council homes their families have lived in for decades.

“In addition, having no title deed means they have no way to legally sell and transfer their properties to new owners, leave them to their heirs or use them as collateral to start a business or give their children a better future through education.”

It is estimated that at least 5m households live in such tenuous circumstances, he says, and it is for this reason that BetterBond supports the nationwide Khaya Lam campaign to ensure that every homeowner receives a title deed and the peace of mind that comes from having security of tenure.

This initiative was started by the Freedom Foundation, and to date has resulted in the delivery of more than 7500 title deeds to poor households who cannot afford them. 

“With help from its legal and banking supporters, Khaya Lam has also managed to reduce the cost of obtaining or providing a title deed from around R6500 to R2500 – and the BetterLife Foundation contributes to this cost for each bond that is registered through BetterBond. In this way every home buyer who obtains their bond though us is automatically helping another family in SA to gain title to their home.”

However, Botha says, private donations are also welcomed, and to expose the campaign to a wider audience, all BetterBond management and staff who participate in major sporting events this year are doing so in support of Khaya Lam – and seeking donations from their own sponsors. (See how you can help at https://www.betterbond.co.za/about)

“In April, for example, Pierre van Lelyveld will be riding in the two-day Cradle Mountain Trophy Cycle Race in Maropeng, and we will also have a BetterBond ‘team’ of four runners in the Two Oceans Marathon taking place in Cape Town.

“We wish them the very best of luck and hope their supporters will contribute generously towards securing dignity and security through property ownership by title deed, especially for the elderly, pensioners, single-parent families and unemployed who cannot afford the costs of the titling process.”

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