A total of 53 Retreat residents on Tuesday became proud homeowners after receiving their title deeds from Mayor Patricia de Lille.
Some of the recipients have been renting for decades, and have never owned a house.
“Today we celebrate the moment that you have been waiting for so long. Many residents have been living in houses here in Retreat, St. Montague Village, Seawinds and Steenberg for decades, but you could never call the place your own,” said De Lille.
“Under apartheid, the government took away people’s rights to dignity and ownership as people of colour were not allowed to own property.
“When we were elected into government we made a commitment to change that, and to undo the wrongs of the past through redress and reconciliation.
“We are aware that many of you have waited and might have given up hope, but today we are handing over the proof that you now own the house in which you have been living. We are proud to share this moment with you, and to restore your dignity by giving you ownership of what could be your biggest asset.”
Proud recipients Richard and Joan Rhode, from Chopin Street in Retreat, have been living there for more than 48 years, while Ghairoeniesa Oliver, a single parent living in the area for more than 40 years, “now finally has the security that the roof over her and her children’s heads is theirs,” De Lille said.
“The title deed is more than just a piece of paper: it is a symbol of our triumph over apartheid, and gives you a place to call your own. Legally the house is yours, and you can ensure that it stays in your family for generations to come.”