3,600 township residents in Gauteng – mostly pensioners – are now debt-free homeowners thanks to Investec.
The specialist banking group has decided to write off mortgage bonds for these lucky residents.
According to Investec chief operating officer (COO) Ciaran Whelan, the bonds were held as security for an “old lending deal” the bank had.
Title deeds being distributed
He said, “When we settled and received the bonds, we decided that instead of trying to sell them or collect on them, the right thing to do was to give the homes back to the people.”
Investec has begun distributing title deeds to the homeowners, whose houses are spread across 15 townships in Gauteng.
The bank aims to complete the title deed handovers within the first quarter of 2020. It shared photos of some of the happy recipients on its website earlier this week.
“When you see the absolute joy on people’s faces, the young and the old, you get a sense of the impact this has made. They told me it’s changed their lives forever,” Whelan said.
‘My kids have a place to stay’
One recipient, Betty Nene, expressed joy at having her mortgage bond cleared and owning her home.
She lives in Soshanguve in Tshwane and had been paying off the bond since 1988 when she was a nursing assistant.
However, as a breadwinner with four children, she had fallen behind on her payments and was owing the bank about R30,000.
Nene, who now doesn’t have to pay that amount, said, “I know when I’m dead my kids have got a place to stay.”
Investec CEO Richard Wainwright said the bank is proud to play its role in promoting land and home ownership in South Africa.
“These recipients now have a home of their own and an asset they can use in other life-changing transactions, like starting a business or educating their children,” he said.