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In the next five years we will eliminate the backlog of title deeds

  • When made: January 2014

  • Where made: Party manifesto

  • In 2014, the title deed backlog was estimated to be 900,000 to 1.5 million.

This was updated to 818,057 in the department of human settlements’ revised strategic plan for 2015 to 2020. The backlog is made up of 83,628 title deeds from before 1994 and 734,429 from after 1994.

Dr Mark Napier, principal researcher in the built environment unit of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, said the pre-1994 backlog was from the “few remaining” old township rental houses whose ownership still hadn’t been transferred to the occupants. The post-1994 backlog is for government-subsidised housing such as RDP houses.

From April 2014 to March 2019, a total of 279,821 backlog title deeds were issued, according to the government.

Backlog title deeds issued in South Africa
Financial year Backlog title deeds issued
2014/15 26,279
2015/16 14,266
2016/17 135,878
2017/18 41,841
2018/19 61,557 (preliminary)
Total 279,821

Sources: Department of human settlements annual reports (2014/15 and 2017/18) and department of planning, monitoring and evaluation

The 2018/19 number, provided by the department of planning, monitoring and evaluation, is preliminary as it has not yet been audited.

Based on the available data, the ruling party’s 2014 promise to eliminate the title deed backlog has not been fulfilled.

In its 2019 manifesto, the ANC promised to “address” the remaining backlog. The party did not respond to requests for comment. – Africa Check, August 2019

Note: The ANC’s 2014 manifesto was released on 11 January and the election held on 7 May. Government reporting keeps to financial years. We tracked the party’s five-year progress in keeping its promises from 1 April 2014, the start of the 2014/15 financial year, to 31 March 2019, the end of the 2018/19 financial year.

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