Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.  Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has prioritised the clearance of the title deeds backlog and has established a dedicated ministerial task team to tackle the issue.

A team of conveyancers has also been assigned to all nine provinces to assist in eliminating the backlog.

Earlier in May a meeting of provincial housing MECs agreed to expedite the work of the task team, said Sisulu, who was speaking at a media briefing ahead of her budget vote debate in the National Assembly on Thursday.

She said the aim of the team was to clear the backlog by the end of the term of the current administration.

The current title deeds backlog amounts to about 760,000 of which about 628,000 date back to before the current administration took office in 2014 and some even before 1994.

"I have also ensured the removal of bureaucratic red tape and blockages which impede and delay the registering and issuing of title deeds.

"The team is intended to ensure that the entire backlog we inherited at 2014 is cleared during this term of office.

"The MECs have undertaken to clear the current backlog from 2014 and ensure that by next year all houses built can be given a title deed when handed over."

By getting title deeds, homeowners get an address, which Sisulu said was essential in the exercise of individual rights. It also allowed property ownership to be inherited.

Title deeds create assets to which owners can add value over time. They give households their first entry into both the property and financial markets and improve the viability of municipalities by expanding the base of property rates.

Sisulu said a study had found that of the 6-million registered residential properties in the deeds registry, 1,44-million were government subsidised houses.

This represents about 25% of registered residential properties and could increase to 35% if the backlog in issuing title deeds is overcome.

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