A Transaction Support Centre to Support Secure Tenure in Functioning Property Markets in Khayelitsha, South Africa

Project Profile

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Project selected under the Innovation Programme Call for Proposals 2019:

Secure Tenure in African Cities: Micro Funds for Community Innovation


Recipient: The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF)
Grant amount: USD 50,000


Photo: TSC

South Africa has delivered some 3.5 million subsidised houses since 1994. While many people’s shelter needs have been met through this intervention, the security of their tenure remains compromised due to inefficiencies in the administrative and policy framework governing the market. For instance, in some cases, title deeds have not yet been transferred or households have traded their homes informally.

The Transaction Support Centre (TSC) is an action-learning
advice centre in a low-income township of Cape Town that engages at the community level to help households undertake formal residential property transactions in the affordable housing market. At the same time, it builds an evidence base that feeds policy reform and the development of new products and services by the private sector.

The current project will strengthen the TSC’s ongoing operations and document its model, with the goal of developing a plan and budget to expand such centres to other metropolitan areas.

The TSC currently has 132 cases on file, most involving title deeds where the current “owner” is not the person recorded
on the deed. These problems make formal secondary registrations impossible and undermine the low-income earners’ ability to realise housing as an asset. Although a title deed has been issued, residents suffer tenure insecurity with
properties that are unable to be traded formally and unable to access finance, while previous sellers may return with a

The project expects to address 100 problem title deeds, ensuring security of tenure, access to financing, and the benefit of a real housing asset for households. It will also deliver two community seminars, help identify issues that women face during the process, develop consumer education material, and review the application of the Land Titles Adjustment Act for the types of cases the TSC faces.

The overall goal is to use title deed regularisation as a first step in regularising the residential property market for low-income earners, thus increasing the incentives to engage in formal transactions.

The TSC is itself innovative; it is the only organisation currently addressing this aspect of the housing sector in a
programmatic way. The local focus of the TSC creates a ground for guided experimentation and action learning that can
be scaled to settlements across the cities of South Africa.


About the grantee:

The TSC is a partnership of CAHF and 71point4, a research consultancy.