City secures interim order to better benefit females in historical housing stock

08 Sep 2022 in Where We Govern

The City of Cape Town is pleased to have obtained an interim order on 7 September 2022 from the Equality Court in relation to historical sale agreements of City housing stock concluded in accordance with a former National Government housing allocation policy. It must be noted the City has its own Housing Allocation Policy and it is separate to the now-repealed National Government housing allocation policy. The National policy was implemented by erstwhile local authorities prior to the establishment of the City of Cape Town Municipality in September 2000. It bears reiteration that the City itself at no stage allocated housing to beneficiaries in terms of the erstwhile policy. Beneficiaries were allocated housing in terms of the erstwhile policy until 1 April 1998, when the Housing Act, 1997, commenced.

Under a now-repealed National housing allocation policy known as the ‘Housing Scheme Constructed by the Local Authority’, former local authorities concluded sale agreements with married male beneficiaries which did not reflect female spouses as co-purchasers at the date of allocation.

‘However, since 2002, the City has implemented a directive that ensures when ownership of these properties is transferred, it is transferred jointly to both spouses, and title is registered in both names, regardless of only the male spouse being the contracting party to the agreement originally. This directive intervention has ensured equality when title deed transfer is completed.

‘To correct any remaining inequitable consequences of the now-repealed National allocation policy, the City seeks to secure an order amending the remaining historic sale agreements that have not reached transfer stage, so as to reflect both the male and female spouses as co-purchasers in equal shares of the property. The City estimates this may affect up to 12 000 remaining beneficiaries of these housing units. It therefore submitted a proposal to the court on how to provide notice to the contracting parties, and which includes a public media campaign informing the affected beneficiaries of the amendment to the contracts as will be made final by the court in due course.

‘The City’s approach is in line with the approach of the Women’s Legal Centre Trust, in that it seeks to ensure that during the period prior to transfer of these housing units, the affected women will have the benefit and protection of being co-purchasers.

‘The City remains committed to enabling fairness and inclusivity in all areas of its mandate,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Malusi Booi.