Land reform in South Africa:a 21st century perspective | Land Portal

Información del recurso

Date of publication: 
Enero 2005
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 

This document investigates the concept of land reform in South Africa and argues that there is a need to redefine 'land reform' to take account of the realities of an urbanising, modernising, economy. It analyses recent political developments on land issues and sheds light on the current process of land reform as well as agro-climatic, economic, budgetary constraints that impinge on the process. The authors come up with a number of broad conclusions bringing together political and practical realities related to the process :since coming to power in 1994, the democratic government has pursued land reform in a considered, reasonable, and largely market-oriented manner, firmly rooted in the constitutional settlement on property rights and in the recognition that the righting of past wrongs, while essential, should not be allowed to damage future prospects. In recent months, however, this perspective has been under increasing pressureAfrica’s commercial agricultural sector is said to offer fewer and fewer opportunities for addressing unemployment, poverty, or inequality on a significant scale. White South Africans are moving out of farming because it is hard to make a reasonable living. Caution must therefore be taken not to set up poorer black South Africans for failure.the deracialisation of commercial agricultural land is essential, but will not benefit primarily poor black South Africans; the benefits will mainly accrue to a small number of relatively better-off black land owners and potential farmers. the government is struggling to meet its own political and developmental objectives with respect to land reform. In the process, it is raising expectations it cannot meetland quality and location is more important than quantity. There is a need to understand that what you do with land is most importantrural land reform is difficult, slow, and expensive, and many black South Africans do not want land to farm.the main focus of land reform should not be rural, except in identified areas of high demand for farm land. Urban and peri-urban land redistribution is the main future challenge.The study identifies three ‘priority areas’ for land reform:concluding the restitution process as speedily and effectively as possible, encouraging forms of compensation other than farmlandspeeding up urban land release for settlement and the delivery of low-income urban and peri-urban housingde-racialising the ownership of commercial agricultural land, and ‘normalising’ the countrysideThe report calls for the formation of a high-level private sector task team to liaise with policy-makers, and help maximise the contribution of the private sector to land reform. [adapted from author]

Autores y editores

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

S. Bernstein

Proveedor de datos

eldis (ELDIS)

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