Administrative problems, together with a failure to root out abuse of the housing allocation system, is tripping up the delivery of title deeds to beneficiaries in the country’s cities, with one metro failing to hand over any title deeds in two years.

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu told MPs in a recent written reply to queries that SA’s eight metropolitan municipalities only managed to hand over 28,232 title deeds to beneficiaries between 2013 and last year.

This disclosure comes on the back of a growing housing backlog that is most pronounced in the metros. An average of 18% of households in metros are informal dwellings, according to Statistics South Africa data.

The figure for informal dwellers does not suggest that all occupants of those households are on the list to receive a house. This merely illustrates the magnitude of the need for housing.

Last week, the Department of Human Settlements acknowledged a housing backlog of more than 2-million. Abuse of the system and administrative hurdles make the backlog even bigger.

In her written reply, Sisulu told Parliament that programmes by her department had resulted in metropolitan municipalities issuing 15,321 title deeds to households in the 2013-14 financial year.

“During the 2014-15 financial year, a total of 12,911 title deeds were delivered to households by the respective metropolitan municipalities as part of the housing and human settlement programmes,” Sisulu said.

The City of Cape Town (7,924) and Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality (7,896) handed over the most title deeds to recipients. The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality did not hand over any title deeds in those two years.

The City of Johannesburg did not hand over any title deeds in 2013-14, but issued 1,758 the following year. Buffalo City municipality issued no title deeds in 2013-14, but gave out 2,925 in 2014-15.

The Democratic Alliance’s spokesman for human settlements, Makashule Gana, said the Johannesburg metro council needed to deliver 200,000 title deeds yearly to clear their current backlog.

He said the allocation system should be expedited to eliminate abuse. “A beneficiary’s letter of approval to move in should be their title deed.”

This article was originally published by Business Day on 26 April 2016


 Stats SA