After years of waiting to become official homeowners, the residents of Westrich in Newlands West finally had their dreams fulfilled when they were handed over the title deeds to their properties.

The sounds of ululating, celebrations and singing resounded from a number of homes across Westrich, this past Sunday, when Ward 37 Councillor, Gugu Zulu, turned up at their door-steps to present them with the deeds of ownership. Zulu was accompanied by Nonhlanhla Qhobosheane from the Department of Human Settlements and members of the eThekwini Municipality, housing department.

Title deed recipients were mostly women as part of the Women’s Month celebrations. The women of all ages were floored by the gesture from Zulu, selecting them to be among the recipients. One of the residents, 23-year-old Sinenhlanhla Malusi, could barely contain her joy. She and her nine siblings were full of praise for Zulu. While Thembisile Mnomiya broke out into song and dance when she was handed over the deed. She said: “I feel like I could fly. To finally hold this deed in my hands means the world to me and my kids. We finally have a home to call ours and now I have the proof that says so. Thanks Mam’ Councillor. We will never sell this house, it is a blessing that we will never throw away.”

The recipients were also given groceries, to sweeten the moment. Sindiswa Makhatini, was overwhelmed by this. Clutching the groceries and the deed to her chest, while calling for the neighbours to come help her celebrate, she could barely keep her tears at bay. Makhathini told the councillor that out of the large family, only one person was working. She said: “You have no idea what you have done for us. These groceries will feed our family. We survive through your soup kitchen as it is. My brother has a job because of the unemployment project that you and your office have.”

The area of Westrich which is nestled at the edge of Newlands West, near Riverdene and Earlsfield, has over 500 homes. A number of it’s residents are underprivileged and unemployed. Zulu said this has forced some RDP owners into selling their homes in favour of money, resorting to living in informal settlements.”Please do not sell these homes. They not only belong to you, but to your children as well. If you have problems, we are here for you. We know about your struggle, we have volunteers in the area specifically for easier access to service and the councillor. As office bearers, we are here to serve the public.” Zulu also expressed concern that a number of the recipients could not be reached or were no longer living in the area.