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Cape Town launches homeownership drive

MAIN IMAGE: Geordin Hill-Lewis, Mayor of Cape Town; Alderman James Vos, Acting Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements

The City of Cape Town has announced that it will be launching a homeownership ‘No Cost Transfer Programme’. That’s not just a mouthful, the programme has a big, R38 million budget backing it up. The goal? To enable qualifying City-tenants to become owners of their rental units. In a city well known for its lack of mixed-income housing, this initiative stands to make 22 000 tenants homeowners over the next three years.

The No Cost Transfer Programme forms part of the Mayor’s Priority Programme (MPPs). These MPPs focus on key service delivery in areas such as housing, safety, and energy, the MPP, in this case, being Land Release for Affordable Housing.

In the December edition of the Mayoral Minute, Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis explained the rationale behind the programme, “Because we believe no one should be a permanent tenant of the state, we have introduced a new “No Cost Transfer” programme, making it as easy as possible for tenants to become owners of their Council housing, without having to pay anything towards the transfer costs. Thousands of tenants are now eligible to become homeowners for the first time in their lives, at no cost”.

“Owning a property remains the biggest, and most likely vehicle to financial growth for most South Africans. This step by the City is a significant one, not just in enabling its tenants to become homeowners, but also in terms of redressing historical wrongs committed during the Apartheid era”, says Jan le Roux, CE of Rebosa.

How it works

“There are approximately 7 500 City-owned rental units, 13 000 delayed transfer units, and 1 400 historical serviced sites that could be eligible for this free title deed initiative,” explains the City’s Acting Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Alderman James Vos.

Vos says that through the No Cost Transfer Programme, the City will fund the attorney transfer fees and fix the same at R2 500 per property irrespective of the property purchase price, on behalf of the beneficiaries. The City will also fund insurance costs for saleable rental units from the date of sale until the registration of the property.

Who qualifies?

According to the City’s website, legal City tenants in good standing currently occupying the following properties stand to qualify:

  • Free-standing houses
  • Semi-detached houses
  • Terraced houses (row houses)
  • Maisonettes
  • Historic site and service units
  • Delayed transfer units

“We encourage residents to reach out so that they may become property owners. Please approach us by visiting the local housing office in your community or by contacting us via the Human Settlements Call Centre (021 444 0333) or our WhatsApp (063 299 9927) line,” said Alderman Vos.

Further land to be released for affordable housing

Forming part of the MPPs, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis recently launched the City’s Land Release Priority Programme at an Affordable Housing Indaba in Cape Town. The programme will see fast-tracking of state land release for affordable housing and greater ease of doing business for development applications. Over R17 million is allocated to cut out red tape and fast-track land release in the City’s new draft budget.

“We expect several well-located properties to be on the City Council agenda in May – encouraging progress on fast-tracking land release. Our commitment is to do more to release state-owned land for the development of well-located affordable housing, close to public transport and economic opportunities. This includes releasing land for social housing projects in the inner-city and well-located nodes elsewhere,” said the Mayor.

“Aside from the issue of homeownership, one of the biggest problems we face nationally, but also specifically in Cape Town, is the ability of people to live close to where they work and can access economic opportunities. The City has long been criticised for its tardy response to this issue and one hopes that the R17 million allocated to fast-track land, as set out in the draft budget, will be approved, and that the release of the land will indeed happen speedily,” says le Roux.

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