Caroline Kortjie, 81, from Manenberg, was among the oldest people who finally became homeowners when Mayor Patricia de Lille handed over title deeds to 90 beneficiaries on Wednesday February 14.
The ceremony was held at Athlone Stadium and City of Cape Town tenants from Athlone, Manenberg, Hanover Park and Heideveld who qualified, were given their title deeds.
Ms Kortjie said she moved into her Manenberg home 50 years ago, and has been renting from the City of Cape Town since then.
“I have been paying rent all these years. Now I am satisfied. I feel very happy. I was frustrated over the years, because it was not always easy, but I knew where my help would come from,” Ms Kortjie said.
Her daughter, Charmaine Perzent, said her parents raised her and her three sisters in that home.
“I too feel very chuffed that my mother is finally a homeowner. It’s a pity our father did not have the opportunity to celebrate this moment with us, as he passed away in 2012,” Ms Perzent said.
Pauline Petersen, 38, from Heideveld, was overcome with emotion when she became a homeowner.
“I am the youngest one here to receive a house. There are people who have been on the housing waiting list for years. I feel so privileged and I just want to thank God for this.
“My mother passed away two-and-a-half years ago, and she made me a beneficiary in her will. I feel sad that she cannot be here to share this moment, but I know she is smiling bright. This is also a joyful moment,” Ms Petersen said.
Another beneficiary, Charlotte Momberg, 77, from Heideveld, said she believes only God could make this possible.
“I have been renting from council for more than 30 years. I feel very happy. I am a great-grandmother, and this is my legacy I will leave for my children. I never gave up hope of becoming a homeowner, there were just some times when I felt a bit sad. I serve God and He made this possible for me,” Ms Momberg said.
Shirley Daniels, 65, also from Heideveld, said she too, is happy to finally be a homeowner after renting for 30 years.
Ms De Lille was joined by mayoral committee member for area central, Siyabulela Mamkeli, at the official ceremony.
Said Ms De Lille: “It is occasions such as today that make my decision to serve the people of this country more fulfilling. Looking at all of you right now, I’m filled with joy that people from different races and backgrounds can be in one place to celebrate progress. You are all aware that many decades ago under apartheid, this kind of gathering would have been impossible because of the cruelty of that oppressive government.
“We all know that one of that government’s most criminal deeds was the Group Areas Act, where people of colour were forcibly removed from affluent neighbourhoods and had their homes close to the central business district (CBD) taken from them. To make matters worse, when the people were moved to Athlone, Mitchell’s Plain, Manenberg, Lavender Hill and other areas, many of them were not allowed to own those properties.”
She added that the City of Cape Town made a commitment to redress the imbalances of apartheid.
“Giving people title deeds to the properties that they have been denied ownership of is one of the many ways in which we are dismantling the legacy of apartheid. The title deed is more than just a piece of paper. It’s about restoring the dignity of our people who were forcibly removed and had their homes taken from them in the cruellest and most unjust way. Since June 2017 the City has handed out 1 957 title deeds in areas across Cape Town,” Ms De Lille said.