Cornelius September, who is over 100 years old, was one of the 59 tenants who have been living in the council rental units called Steurhof, to whom the City of Cape Town transferred ownership yesterday.
Executive mayor Patricia De Lille handed out letters to the families, giving the full property rights to the units.
September, who can still sit with his back straight in his chair, walks without support and was able to dance for joy at having his own home at last.
“I’m very joyful. I have waited for many years. I can dance for you to show my joy,” he said, smiling throughout the interview.
September, whose nickname during World War 2 was “Seppie” said he served in Egypt, France and Syria.
In her address, de Lille made special mention of September, admitting that it had taken a long time for the city to address the injustices of the past and help people such as him.
She several times stressed the need to correct the injustices of the past caused by apartheid and highlighted that the city was prepared to address those wrongs.
De Lille committed R25 000 from the Mayor’s Special Fund to cover costs related to the transfer process.
She said she would be going further to extend full property ownership to all 130 Steurhof residents “as permitted in terms of the extended housing benefit scheme policy”.
“Some of the tenants were forcibly removed from the units under the provisions of the Group Areas Act and despite their return to the properties some time ago, the city failed to realise their property rights.”
To ensure the smooth transfer of the homeownership rights, the 59 beneficiaries signed deeds of sale which the city had prepared. - Francis Hweshe