Cape Town - Livingstone Bam managed to keep his shop, Mncedi Store, in Langa afloat through more than one recession and the 1976 riots when it was burnt to the ground.
Bam, who dreamt of expanding his shop, was never able to do so because he didn’t own the title deed since apartheid forbade it.
Bam died in 1987 at the of age 62, his dream of owning his own business premises unfulfilled.
Now his sons, Sango and Azi, say the family are planning to make Bam proud as a City of Cape Town initiative to sell “business-use” properties in Langa, Gugulethu and Nyanga to their long-term tenants or successors-in-title, mean that his dream can at last be realised.
At the end of last month the municipality approved the sale of 12 properties in the three areas for R20 per square metre.
The municipality has identified 148 properties that qualify for such title deed transfers.
The tenants or their successors have been trading on the premises for past 20 to 40 years and freehold rights were previously denied to them.
Last month the Cape Argus reported that the sale of the first batch of 31 sites in Gugulethu and Nyanga had been approved in 2012, but the actual transfer was delayed when some of the claimants were unable to pay the R3 592 transfer fees.
After a meeting with the Lagunya Business Association it was agreed that claimants would pay R500 in transfer fees and the city would cover the rest.
In July last year, the sale of the second batch of 69 sites was approved.
This third batch of 12 sites brings to 100 the number of sites handed over to the title deed holders.
Sango Bam said the title deed had been transferred to his mother, Thandiwe, but because she was elderly the shop was being run by younger family members.
Sango and his brother, Azi Bam, said that after the shop burnt down their father used to sell his goods outside the shop and managed to rebuild it 1979.
“My father used to encourage us to be in business. He used to say: ‘My children come work in the business on weekends so that you can take over from me when I’m gone.’ We are glad that the family has the title deed now,” Azi said.
Johanna Mphela, who runs the African Touch Salon next to Mncedi Store, said it used to be a tailor shop run by her parents Phillip and Sannie.
“I won’t lie and say I’m not happy and excited (about the initiative) because it’s something in my possession, but my parents are not here to witness it.”
Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said the city believed property ownership gave people certainty and stabilised the business environment.
“In the apartheid years people weren’t allowed to own property here. For many decades these people and their parents have occupied these properties. Now we’re giving ownership. Now they have control and that puts you in a position to pursue their businesses with certainty.” - The Cape Argus