102-year-old homeowner, Mary van der Schyff, receives her title deed

Mary van der Schyff, 102, received the title deed to her home. Picture: Patrick Louw

Mary van der Schyff, 102, received the title deed to her home. Picture: Patrick Louw

Published Jun 14, 2024


Cape Town - After more than 60 years since moving into her home, 102-year-old Mary van der Schyff finally received her title deed on Tuesday through the City’s Deed-to-Door campaign.

“I feel happy to finally have my title deed. I did not expect to live until 102 years and did not think I would live to get my title deed but I feel good. So far my health is also good, I have no pains,” she said.

From Maitland, Van der Schyff and her family moved into their home in Maitland Garden Village during the 60s for which she paid rent every month to the City as it was Council property.

In 1997 they were given the option to either continue renting or purchase the home, and opted to buy it and pay R87.92 per month.

Her son, Frank van der Schyff, 71, from Athlone, said around the time they were nearly done paying off the bond, they were given a rebate on the balance.

“We waited patiently for the title deed. On mom’s birthday in May, people from the City came to check if she was still alive and to get the details because the title deed would be coming shortly. It was such a surprise and we thought, wow what a birthday present,” said Frank.

“It is a relief for me too and if she is happy then I am happy. It is just the goodness of God and His grace. By the time we were given the option to buy, mom was paying the bond with her pension and she managed because life was cheaper,” he said.

Van der Schyff and her son Edward, 64, live in the house.

She worked as a domestic worker and has four children with 13 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.

The City’s newly appointed title deed agent and human settlements mayco member, Carl Pophaim handed over her title deed on Tuesday.

Pophaim said efforts to find historic beneficiaries of City saleable units, newer subsidy and old RDP housing who have never received title deeds have been stepped up with a service provider appointed to solve the more difficult historic cases.

“Wow, this has been the most amazing experience and I am overjoyed that we tracked down our elderly homeowner to give her title deed.

“As part of our new Deed-to-Door campaign, we have appointed title deed agents to track down beneficiaries who have never received their title deeds.

“Often, details have not been updated so we cannot find them, or they have moved out of the metro and other details are lacking.

“A title deed is so important when it comes to proving ownership, for purposes of wills and banking loans among others.”

Cape Argus

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