When the buyer of Smangaliso Sphamla’s family home in Kraaifontein, Cape Town, arrived to move in one day in 2016, it was the first time Sphamla knew it had been sold from under him. Sphamla’s father had bought the house 16 years ago through the informal market. He did not have the change of ownership recorded at the deeds office. Ten years after that the seller returned, asking to buy the home back. "We told her we could not do that. We’d been in the house for 10 years; we’d added four more rooms," he says. "She threatened to kick us out." In 2015, the family received a letter from the seller’s lawyers, saying she was selling the property — and in 2016 the new "owners" arrived. "How do you sell one house twice?" asks Sphamla about the matter, which is being heard by the high court in Cape Town. A similar story is told by Christina, who asked the FM not to use her real name, for fear of victimisation. She sold her reconstruction & development programme (RDP) house in 2010 and bought...

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