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Joy as Jozi pensioner gets title deed at last


Although 70-year-old Annah Dikgale had spent thousands of rand over the years to turn her Zone 4 Diepkloof, Soweto, matchbox house into a swanky and liveable suburban home, she could not, technically speaking, call it her own.
Despite having lived in the house for 53 years, there was no record in the Deeds Office showing that the property belonged to her.  But all that changed on Wednesday September 14 when Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba arrived at her home to hand her the title deed to the property, ending a decades-long struggle for recognition as the official and rightful owner of the house.
The widowed septuagenarian is one of 40 Soweto residents who will receive their title deeds from the Mayor in the next few days.  More than 2 000 residents will be issued with their title deeds between now and the end of December this year.  A relieved Dikgale said having a title deed meant she no longer had to worry about her children and grandchildren’s future.  “The house is officially in my name now. No one can come and claim it as theirs,” an elated Dikgale said after receiving the title deed from Mayor Mashaba.
It had been a long battle for recognition for Dikgale.  “I honestly could not believe it. I thought it was a joke. But then the Mayor came. What has just happened has changed my life forever. You cannot imagine the relief I felt as he handed me the title deed,” said the pensioner.    Mayor Mashaba said he was honoured to be handing the title deed to Dikgale, who had been living in the property since 1963.
Issuing residents with title deeds has now become top priority for the City of Johannesburg.  “It’s tragic to think that many of our people died while waiting for their title deeds. Having a title deed provides one with the opportunity to better one’s life and enter the mainstream economy,” Mayor Mashaba said.
He appealed to residents to be patient while his administration tackled the City’s housing backlog.  “Give us the opportunity to prove what we’re able to do and how seriously we take our promise of uplifting the poor and providing dignity to all our residents,” Mayor Mashaba said.