Khaya Lam (“My Home”) Land Reform Project presentation in Kwakwatsi, Free State.
A festive atmosphere during an earlier Khaya Lam title deed presentation in Kwakwatsi, Free State. Photo: Free Market Foundation

Land reform in South Africa may be a contentious topic, but it’s proving to be quite the contrary for the historic Khaya Lam (“My Home”) Land Reform Project. Perry Feldman, the semi-retired farmer and entrepreneur from Parys, Free State who initiated the project, says he’s always been concerned about land redistribution in the country.

In 2013, 84 title deeds were presented to recipients in Tumahole, an informal settlement outside Parys, and since then a further 3 361 title deeds have been processed and presented through the project driven by the Free Market Foundation (FMF). “We found that many residents, who thought they had title deeds, had pieces of paper which gave them no rights.” says Feldman.

Khaya Lam aims to secure the property rights of between 5 and 7 million previously dispossessed families in South Africa by giving them the title deeds to their homes.

Khaya Lam presentation in Ngwathe, Free State.
Khaya Lam presentation in Ngwathe, Free State.

After scaling down as a farmer, Feldman met with the FMF to investigate the state of titling in Tumahole, where he lives. In October 2013, the former Free State premier, Ace Magashule, presented 84 title deeds to recipients in Tumahole in the pilot project sponsored by FNB.

Today, the project strives to help create a peaceful and successful South Africa for all its residents, irrespective of race, colour or creed. The Khaya Lam Foundation is a partnership between the local authority, various sponsors and conveyancers who have accepted reduced rates for the work they need to do.

Since the project’s inception in 2013, 3 361 title deeds have been processed and presented at an average value of R120 000 per dwelling. This represents a R403 000 000 increase in the asset base of the residents.

It means that the residents have security and dignity and can sell their property for market related prices.

How does Khaya Lam operate and where?

Khaya Lam operates in Ngwathe in the Free State, Beyers Naude in the Eastern Cape, Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Grabouw in the Western Cape, Jozini in KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg in Gauteng. Feldman adds that the conditions are not the same in every municipality. The degree of complexity differs from province to province along with the institutional capability of the specific local authority.

According to Feldman, they work in specific areas where the sponsor wants to spend their funds. In the last year, Khaya Lam handed over title deeds in Ngwathe (Vredefort, Parys, Koppies), Graaff-Reinet (Aberdeen), Grabouw, Hillview and Vukuzenzele in Cape Town and Stellenbosch. In Ngwathe alone, 1 860 title deeds have been presented. Khaya Lam also recently received pledges for a further 20 000 titles. Together with funds and pledges in hand they will be doing a further 23 350 in the nearby future.

Khaya Lam presentation in Stellenbosch, Western Cape.
Khaya Lam presentation in Stellenbosch, Western Cape.

How can South Africans get involved?

The project functions with sponsor funds. This can be from an individual who gives R200 per month, another who gives one title per month, companies that give 100 plus, to the biggest sponsor, Johann Rupert, the South African-born entrepreneur and chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont and Remgro, with 10 000 title deeds each.

Other Khaya Lam highlights

The organisation says it is thrilled by the number of presentations and contributions by the Ruperts and Remgro. According to Feldman, Khaya Lam now has a very definite future. It is sustainable and can contribute to the future prosperity and stability of South Africa by “transformation through ownership”.