Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Uhuru Moiloa on Sunday welcomed the writing off of R14m in debt for homes which had faced repossession due to to their unfavourable financial situation.
The beneficiaries, aged between 75 and 90 years old, had registered as indigents and owed amounts of less than R150 000 on their mortgages to Nedbank and less than R10 000 for municipal services in the City of Johannesburg and City of Ekurhuleni.
The project was primarily aimed at helping homes with pensioners, people with disabilities and homes headed by children.
"I would like to thank Nedbank for their R14 million contribution to write off the debt of the indigent. We are here not only to celebrate but to restore their dignity," said Moiloa, after handing over 33 title deeds on Thursday.
Moiloa called for other banks to follow in Nedbank's footsteps.
"A solution can be found if government together with the banks can work together to solve such problem and relieve our elders of the burden of debt so that they can rest peacefully knowing that they are leaving their children and grandchildren with title deeds.
"We need to look at the logic behind indebting someone for 20 years and more for borrowing R200 000 for mortgage and someone who borrows R1 million to buy a vehicles pays it within 5 years. This does not make sense and it justifies a call for South Africans to have a conversation with banking institutions."
He said financial institutions had to bite the bullet.
Stephen and Paulina Botha, in their 80s, said they could now sleep peacefully because of the title deed.
"We have heard stories that got us worried that people are falsely evicting the elderly with fake title deeds because they have no one to fight for them. We were never at peace because we did not know when they would be coming to us and we would never know whether it was Nedbank evicting us or criminals."Gladys Malati, 78, said she was very relieved as she would never have been able to pay off her debt.