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Land Reform Project: Conversion to freehold title in SOUTH AFRICA
Project manager: Free Market Foundation (FMF)

  • To have all local government-owned properties in Ngwathe municipality (approximately 33,000) upgraded to unambiguous, tradable and mortgageable ownership (full freehold title) at minimal or no cost to the lawful residents (currently tenants of the municipality).
  • To create a case study for replication in all other areas of South Africa in which old forms of apartheid occupation exist (approximately 7 to 10 million properties).

This project envisages converting all local government-owned properties into full freehold. The project is truly historic. If successful, it will be the first ever large scale substantive project to undo the land disempowerment of apartheid still endured by millions of black South Africans. It will set a precedent for reform of its kind to continue in South Africa. Most of all, it will unlock the economic potential of thousands of householders, opening the door for large scale economic growth in Ngwathe and beyond.

“It is hard to think of a single idea that would boost South Arica more than this project, which unleashes the wealth in land into the hands of the people, and, through them, into the economy at large.” – Leon Louw, FMF Executive Director

Peruvian economist, Hernando de Soto, said in his best-seller, The Mystery of Capital, that throughout the world, the poor may have wealth in the land but it is “dead capital” because possession is insecure.

Ngwathe decided to be the first local government where all black-held land is held under precisely the same title as full freehold land in historically white areas, thus converting “dead capital” into “dynamic capital”. Blacks, at last, will be trusted as emancipated citizens in a democracy based on freedom and be afforded the dignity to sell, let or mortgage the land they own.

Land reform is an essential prerequisite for a stable and prosperous South Africa. This project offers government and the private sector an opportunity to turn millions of black South Africans into home owners.

On 22 October 2013, 100 years after the 1913 Native Land Act was passed, the Honourable Free State Premier, Ace Magashule, released the first fully tradable title deeds to black home owners in Ngwathe municipality, Free State.

Initiated in 2010, the Free Market Foundation’s Ngwathe Land Reform Project serves to convert land currently held under a complex variety of restrictive tenures and titles to unambiguous, freely tradable ownership.

Having ironed out the problems and considerably simplified the process, FMF has managed to reduce the cost per transfer to $165. In other words, for a mere $165 YOU can purchase an Ngwathe resident a title deed and help set a precedent for replication elsewhere in South Africa.

To make a donation toward this important project please complete the details below and “submit”. This will take you to the Free Market Foundation’s website from which you can make a credit card payment in the amount of your choice. As reference, please enter YOUR NAME + LAND.