A number of studies have been carried out in the past decade highlighting the phenomenon of the low rate at which title deeds have been issued to beneficiaries of housing projects, as well as high-level speculation as to the reasons behind this phenomenon, with some localised studies having pinpointed where the blockages lie in relation to particular projects.
However, while there is considerable agreement on the existence of the problem, there has not been a public report giving a national overview of questions that include the proportion of beneficiaries that receive title deeds, the timeframes that apply when they are received, the number of beneficiaries that do not receive title deeds at all, and the relationship to the pre-emptive clause (i.e. the limitation of sale of RDP properties for eight years).
Although it is widely agreed that issuing title deeds alone will not solve the problems of weak and dysfunctional urban land markets at the lower end of the price range, the failure to issue title deeds to housing beneficiaries is a grave impediment to achieving the goal of an efficient and fair market for the urban poor.
Understanding and resolving the reasons why the rate at which title deeds are issued might be so low is not the answer to all the urban land market's problems but it is an essential part of that answer.
There are multiple factors which explain why title deeds are not issued, or are issued only after lengthy delays. With this project, we aim to get a clearer idea of what these factors are, as well as the relative importance of each, to be able to devise a strategy for tackling the problem.
This work therefore encompasses a focused investigation into what key stakeholders - government officials in all three spheres, the housing institutions, developers and NGOs - and experts believe is the reason behind the delays and blockages in issuing title deeds to housing beneficiaries.
The results from this investigation will be available in early May 2011.