Sakkiesdorp tenants longing for title deeds

Bernard Gorridon, Trevor Desane, Caroline Bendie, Irene Fynn and Gerald Kaffer, with, TyBrandon Wareley, 4.

After over 30 years of battling to get ownership of houses in Sakkiesdorp, behind Lavender Hill, tenants, are fearing they will be “too old” to own a property by the time the City of Cape Town hands over their title deeds.

The residents were disappointed last year when Ward 68 councillor Marita Petersen told them at a meeting held to address their concerns, that they would have to wait a bit longer.

In a letter dated April 12, Ms Petersen told them that the motion to expedite the transfer of ownership “is with the City’s Legal Department and receiving the attention it deserves.”

“The Mayor’s Committee is now monitoring and evaluating the matter on a regular basis,” she added. “Sub-council had three meetings with the legal department to hear the progress on the matter.

“We will have to conduct a survey on the 151 houses in order to ensure that the rightful tenants enjoy the ownership they have been waiting for so long.

“We still have to decide on the illegal occupants and those who had moved in recently and had not formed part of the original benefit of the project.

“The report must be approved and adopted at a full sitting of council as we are governed by the Municipal Finance Management Act which is law.

“This means that as council, we have a fiduciary duty to all citizens and the state to how all funds/monies of the taxpayer and state are spent. This unfortunately is a legal and constitutional process by which we are bound.”

But residents told Southern Mail all they wanted was to own a property before they got “too old”.

Bernard Gorridon, chairperson for the Sakkiesdorp Civic Association, said tenants were frustrated, as they wanted to know why they had to wait so long to become the legal owners of their houses.

“Many of us come from informal settlements and we have never owned a property. We are all getting old. I am turning 60 this year. There is an 80-year-old woman, aunty Nancy, who now has to pass ownership of the house on to her children.”

Board member Trevor Desane, 63, added: “We have been made many promises that they didn’t fulfill and we are not happy.

“I’ve been living here for 34 years with my wife Jennifer. We have four children who are still living with us. I made a promise to myself after living with my wife, in my mother-in-law’s lounge before we moved here, that I will give my children a house so that they never go through what I had experienced.”

Ashley Marinus, 58, said he had been living in Sakkiesdorp for more than 20 years. “I feel it is unfair after so many years that I am not the owner of this property. My wife Anita and my two daughters are living with me.”

Ms Marinus said he had been renovating his house over the years. “I have been spending a lot of money on renovations and made this place look much better. I have been given permission to renovate, but as long as it belongs to the City, it is not worth it. I want to be in control of my own property.”

Ms Petersen apologised to the residents for the long wait and vowed to continue working with them to have the matter resolved

“I want to also thank you for your patience. It is also sad that many of the original beneficiaries that had fought for this had passed on and that their wishes will be appreciated by their children.

“I will continue to pursue the matter during the remainder of my term and will continue to report back,” said Ms Petersen.