Alexandra residents tell Luthuli House: 'Enough is enough, we want our title deeds'

As the land debate intensifies and public hearings on land having wrapped up their tour across the country, a group of elderly residents of Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, marched to the ANC's headquarters on Monday to make their voices heard.

The Alexandra Property Owners' Rights (APOR) group is reiterating demands about the restoration of land, the validation and rollout of title deeds, the reversal of dispossession and repossession as well as the implementation of a statement of intent about these demands that was signed on June 25, 2016.

"We are devastated and angry that absolutely nothing has happened since we signed the statement of intent in 2016. We are taking action to implore the ANC and government to listen and act," said APOR chairperson Vakele Mbalukwana outside Luthuli House, which was a hive of activity on Monday morning.

The organisation says approximately 2 555 property owners in Alexandra want their title deeds.

According to APOR, residents say they feel left out after the ANC embarked on a series of events where title deeds were issued to residents in other townships across the province. 

APOR says that property owners in Alexandra were dispossessed by the apartheid government and it believes it is the current government's responsibility to ensure that their dignity is restored.

'They do not care about us'

"We lost our land through expropriation and we claimed it back, the government gave us R50 000 as compensation. In 2008, MEC Paul Mashatile signed the statement of intent but since then it is as if we have been left in limbo. Enough is enough, we have had enough," APOR's Dodo Shubiri told News24.

This is a battle apparently spanning close to two decades. Alexandra residents say they have been promised title deeds by various ANC leaders over the years.

The lobby group went on to lambaste leaders within the ANC who are from the township but seem to have abandoned their community.

"From Paul Mashatile to Vasco da Gama; all of these people are from Alex but they do not care about us. They are sitting pretty in their offices, which is the problem," a protester, Tony Mothibi, told News24.

APOR, which wants the issue resolved as a matter of urgency, was invited to a meeting with ANC leaders at the Gauteng department of housing to find an amicable solution. After an hour-long discussion, Gauteng department director of housing Sam Mahatlane told frustrated residents that this matter would be discussed further in "a meeting next week Tuesday". 

Speaking to News24 after the meeting, MEC for human settlements Uhuru Moila told News24 that he had spent all day in Alexandra on Sunday.

"I am aware of the issue of title deeds and I am awaiting a full brief from the Gauteng department of housing on what transpired at Luthuli House. Once I am briefed fully, I will deal with it," he told News24.

Despite this, APOR has said that it plans on taking the matter to the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday.

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