Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the handover of Title Deeds at the Franklin Housing Project, Kokstad
Acting Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Sihle Zikalala,
Executive Mayor of the Harry Gwala District Municipality, Cllr Mluleki Ezekiel Ndobe,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to be with you at this title deed handover ceremony.
This event is significant because it forms part of the work we are doing together to restore the dignity of South Africa's people.
From the wars of dispossession to the 1913 Natives' Land Act to the Group Areas Act and other apartheid legislation, black South Africans were denied the right to own property.
Millions of African, coloured and Indian South Africans were forcibly removed from their land, stripped of their assets and consigned to a life of poverty.
Since 1994, we have been working to correct this historical injustice by providing houses to the poor, undertaking land restitution and providing basic services like water and electricity.
We have now embarked on a programme to accelerate land reform, which will provide land and support to black farmers, secure the property rights of all those who work and live on the land, and identify well-located areas for social housing in urban areas.
Part of that programme is to give people the opportunity to own their own homes.
In a country where the majority of the population have few, if any, assets, home ownership is a form of radical economic transformation.
It improves the prospects not only for those who are given title deeds, but also the generations who will follow.
Home ownership can contribute to improved educational outcomes and reduce household poverty.
Families are more secure and communities are more stable.
What we are doing today is to respond to the call our people made in the Freedom Charter over six decades ago that:
All people shall have the right to live where they choose, be decently housed, and to bring up their families in comfort and security.
We are issuing title deeds as part of the broader effort to put our people at the centre of service delivery.
We are delivering on our commitment to transform South Africa to the benefit of all, particularly the poor.
It is significant that this handover ceremony is taking place on the same day that we officially opened the new Home Affairs office in Kokstad, since both events demonstrate the importance of effective and efficient governance in empowering citizens.
What we saw at the Home Affairs office this morning confirms that society's transformation depends on the responsiveness of government departments to people's needs.
The Department of Home Affairs accompanies us throughout our lives.
From birth, we receive certificates as official confirmation that we have taken our place among the great South African population.
The Department provides us with the means to travel, to marry, to vote, to have a bank account, to run a business and to live productive lives.
When we pass on, it is Home Affairs that certifies that we belong to the departed.
Like all other government departments, it is therefore critical that Home Affairs operates efficiently, that it is free from corruption of any sort and that it places the needs of its clients first.
We remain committed to building a government that is accountable and prioritises its citizens.
We remain resolute in our commitment to working with communities to find sustainable ways to meet their needs.
The people must themselves be agents of change and make democracy thrive by being actively involved in development in their communities.
We need people at grassroots to take ownership of projects and monitor the implementation of programmes.
Not only must we increase public participation in government planning and budget processes, but we must also ensure that communities are able to raise the alarm when things go wrong.
We should not have to wait for service delivery protests to respond to the problems people face.
When people are involved in the provision of basic services they in turn take full ownership and care of public resources.
It is not enough for government to work for the people; it needs to work with the people.
Communities need to work with the police to tackle crime and lawlessness.
They need to work with education authorities to improve conditions in schools and with the health authorities to improve clinics and hospitals.
They need to work with their councillors to improve service delivery and promote local economic development.
When we work together, we can better manage resources and channel them to where they are needed most.
In so doing, we will be ensuring that the ideals of a better and prosperous South Africa are realised for our people and for the generations to come.
Congratulations to all those who are receiving title deeds today and thank you to all those who have worked so hard to make this possible.
I thank you.
Source: Government of South Africa