Efficiency a public service obligation
There are many cases of tenants and residents waiting for years for the eThekwini municipality to process their property ownership rights.
Registering a transfer with the deeds office takes between a few weeks and a few months.
The municipality, as discussed in this column last year, takes more than three years.
After two articles published last year, more people have come forward in an attempt to get their plight addressed.
One resident, Emmanuel Mabija, has been waiting almost nine years for the title deeds to his Cato Manor house.
In December last year, questions were put to the eThekwini municipality’s deputy head of housing, Yunus Sacoor, regarding the three cases mentioned below.
The municipality’s responses appear below for each case.
Copies of the questions were also sent to Nomusa Ntombela, the housing rental department’s acting manager, and Dayalan Govender, the housing conveyancing department’s principal project officer.
Janet Elizabeth Giles, flat 910B Sydenham Manor, 10 Rippon Road, Sydenham.
Giles said that she had signed transfer papers and had paid for transfer on September 4, 2008. She had since signed on four other occasions and was recently accompanied by Pretty Gumede from the Organisation of Civic Rights (OCR) on Nov-ember 23 last year to enquire about her title deeds. It appeared that Giles’s flat was registered to another owner, who ended up with the ownership of two flats.
Was the double ownership rectified?
When was this done – double ownership?
How was it possible for the municipality to allow a person to own two properties simultaneously?
It happened by error.
When can Giles expect to receive her title deeds?
The property in question must be deregistered first.
Who is attending to the transfer?
Deregistration is attended by the legal department and the transfer of property to Giles will be attended by conveyancers.
Why the long delay in this matter?
Deregistration must be done first.
Lucille Thompson, flat 306, Sydenham Manor.
According to Thompson, she paid the transfer fees of R300 on July 6, 2010, and towards the end of that month was informed in writing that the transfer of the premises would take three months.
Loshni Naidoo, from the OCR, accompanied Thompson to Dayalan Govender, who then referred the matter to Nomusa Ntombela.
The tenant was informed that the levy clearance certificate would be issued on November 8 last year, and the transfer would follow.
Why the long delay in this matter? When can Thompson expect to receive her title deeds? Who is attending to the transfer?
The flat in question is still owned by Housing and the tenant has not taken ownership. Levy clearance certificate has to be obtained. Thereafter the process will be done.
Emmanuel Sidlakela Mabija bought an in fill house, Lot 45/46 Wiggins, Cato Manor.
Mabija bought an in fill house, Lot 45/46 Wiggins Cato Manor in 2004. He has been waiting for his title deed since then. His mother’s employer, John Lomas, sent numerous letters to council regarding same, to no avail.
Pretty Gumede from the OCR accompanied Mabija and his mother, Thandi, and met with Dayalan Govender on November 6 last year.
It was confirmed that the municipality’s record does show the house was allocated to Mabija.
Govender said that he would get the file from the archives and instruct his staff to liaise with the OCR and would communicate with Thandi Mabija by Monday, November 12, last year.
Mabija did not receive a call, nor did the OCR receive any information.
Why the long delay in this matter? When can Mabija expect to receive his title deeds? Who is attending to the transfer?
This matter was not registered. After investigation we located the file and we will send it to the attorneys to be registered in the new year.
A request for an update on January 14 this year remains unanswered.
“The consequences of failing or neglecting to perform public administration in an effective and efficient way in terms of constitutional prescriptions and the Bill of Rights, are bad service delivery and shortcomings in specific areas.”
It is time for the city to serve the people with efficiency and to take action against officials who ignore or are neglectful of the plight of the poor.
An objective test of a successfully managed municipality is how best it serves the needs of its citizens, officials and elected councillors included.
* Dr Sayed Iqbal Mohamed is the chairman, Organisation of Civic Rights.
For tenants’ rights advice, telephone Loshni Naidoo or Pretty Gumede at 031 304 6451
 M van Heerden. Politeia The constitutional obligation on government to perform public administration efficiently and effectively, 28(1) 2009. Unisa Press pp 46-65.