71point4 > Projects > Housing > South Africa’s first ever blockchain-based property register pilot

South Africa’s first ever blockchain-based property register pilot

Centre for Affordable Housing Finance (CAHF)

2019 (ongoing)

Household surveys, administrative data

Survey design, fieldwork, survey analysis, administrative data analysis


The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF), research consultancy 71point4 and Seso Global have partnered to develop South Africa’s first blockchain-based property register. The pilot study area consists of almost 1 000 properties located in four sites in Makhaza, Khayelitsha. All the properties are Government subsidised properties that have not been registered on the deeds registry.

According to CAHF, the government has built over three million RDP houses since democracy, but an analysis of deeds office data indicates that only 1.9 million of these properties have been registered. It is an administratively complex task to formally register these properties; subsidy beneficiaries may no longer be living in the property – they may have sold the property informally or rented them out – and some beneficiaries may have passed away.

Each property needs to surveyed to establish who lives there, and how they came to be there. The data needs to be cross checked against subsidy administration data. It also needs to be maintained over time to enable registration in the future. The benefit of the blockchain solution is that it allows the data to be stored in a decentralised, secure database that can be updated without any loss of historic data. This means there is a secure, back-to-back record of all transactions that is completely tamper-poof. Eventually the vision would be to integrate this record into the deeds registry when other impediments to transfer have been removed.


It took two months to create a register of property owners in this area to find out who lives in each property and to establish how they came to be there. Seventeen enumerators were trained to collect information and capture supporting documents by going door to door, using smartphones installed with specialised software to collect the necessary data. We are now working to validate the data we collected and load it onto the Seso Platform.


In many cases in the pilot areas, the original beneficiary is still living in the property. We hope that these properties can be registered in the deeds registry within a few months, and we are working closely with the City of Cape Town to facilitate that. Where the beneficiary no longer lives in the property, we are in the process of tracing the beneficiary to confirm information we have gathered on who owns the property. We will also be working closely with the City on a resolution process where ownership is disputed.

It will take some time before all the required information has been collected and validated. It will also take time for validated properties to be registered on the deeds registry.  In the meantime, we will enable property owners and occupants to keep those records up to date.

Project resources


Press release: South Africa’s first ever blockchain-based property register pilot

Press release


Trio piloting SA’s first blockchain-based property register in Khayelitsha

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South Africa pilots blockchain for property registry

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Episode 14: Blockchains and Housing Ladders



Blockchain-based property register launched in Cape Town

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