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Position Papers for the National Land Tenure Summit NEW
Source: PLAAS (Ruth Hall, Andries du Toit & Ben Cousins) and Centre for Law and Society, University of Cape Town
Summary: Position papers distributed to the 2,000 people who attended the South African Government’s National Land Tenure Summit, 4-6 September 2014. Comprises: Strengthening the Relative Rights of People Working on Land; Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill; Communal Land Tenure Policy; Communal Property Associations; Agricultural Landholdings Policy; State Land Lease and Disposal Policy. Also an Oped by Ruth Hall, Secure tenure rights or share-holding for farm workers: will government listen?
Date: September 2014
Download (584K pdf)

The disjunctures of land and agrarian reform in South Africa. Implications for the agri-food system
Source: Stephen Greenberg (PLAAS Working Paper 26)
Summary: Includes agri-food regimes and corporate concentration in the agri-food system in South Africa; three broad phases of land reform, 1994-99, 1999-2007, 2007 to the present; two competing views of small-scale agriculture, land reform and small-scale agricultural production, smallholder farmer support.
Date: August 2013
Download (469K pdf) from -PLAAS website-

Joint ventures in agriculture: Lessons from land reform projects in South Africa
Source: Edward Lahiff, Nerhene Davis and Tshililo Manenzhe (IIED/IFAD/FAO/PLAAS)
Summary: Inclusive business models have attracted renewed interest as part of wider debates about growing agricultural investment in developing countries. Report discusses joint ventures in South Africa’s agricultural sector. The South African experience features major specificities linked to the country’s history and recent land reform programme. Land reform beneficiaries entered into a range of joint ventures with commercial partners. Provides a cautionary tale for international debates about inclusive business models, while also identifying more promising models that are now starting to emerge.
Date: March 2012
Download (1,324K pdf) -IIED website-

Gendered land rights in the rural areas of Namaqualand: a study of women’s perceptions and understandings
Source : Karin Kleinbooi (MPhil thesis, PLAAS, University of the Western Cape)
Summary: Focuses on women’s perceptions of land rights in the communal areas of Namaqualand in the Northern Cape. Explores the links between patriarchal social systems and women’s conservative attitudes towards holding land and shows how current policy processes and legislation allow local customs to continue to entrench gender discriminatory practices. Findings indicate that women are disadvantaged by historical norms, values and attitudes, which afford them only secondary rights to land. Yet, informal land practices, however limited, show that in some cases women are creating opportunities to gain access to land independently. For this to become the norm rather than an exception, these practices need recognition and support.
Date: June 2011
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Rights without Illusions: The Potential and Limits of Rights-Based Approaches to Securing Land Tenure in Rural South Africa
Source: Ben Cousins and Ruth Hall (PLAAS Working Paper 18)
Summary: Includes communal tenure reform - a contested terrain; impacts of the legal challenge to CLARA; ‘rights’ as a medium of local struggle, advocacy, litigation, mobilisation and research agendas. Farm tenure reform - policies and progress since 1994; declining priority and shifting politics; why the slow progress on realising rights?; ‘rights’ as a medium of struggle among farm dwellers and owners and civil society strategies; agendas for litigation, research, activism and advocacy. Evaluation - potential and limits of a rights framework.
Date: May 2011
Download (916K pdf) -PLAAS website-

Reconciling Living Customary Law and Democratic Decentralisation to Ensure Women’s Land Rights Security
Source: Sindiso Mnisi (PLAAS Policy Brief 32)
Summary: Argues that decentralisation holds much potential for lively, participatory democratic lawmaking and enforcement through which rural women can gain greater power and secure more rights. Essential that all decentralisation policy be guided by constitutional principles. Explores the guiding principles necessary to safeguard democratic decentralisation.
Date: November 2010
Download (317K pdf) -PLAAS website-

What is a ’smallholder?
Source: Ben Cousins (PLAAS Working Paper 16)
Summary: Includes ’small-holder’ farmers as potential beneficiaries of agrarian reform in South Africa, a class-analytic approach to small-scale farming, accumulation ’from above’ and ’from below’, policy implications.
Date: February 2010
Download (248K pdf) -PLAAS website-

Obstacles Facing Emerging Women Farmers in the Western Cape and Northern Cape, South Africa
Source: Surplus People Project (compiled by Penny Parenze)
Summary: Contains a critique of food and land reform policies in South Africa, findings, analysis and recommendations. Findings focus on women and farming: significance, roles and responsibilities, accessing and cultivating land, support from the private and public sector, reflections of emerging women farmers.
Date: January 2010
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A fresh start for rural development and agrarian reform?
Source: Ruth Hall (PLAAS Policy Brief 29)
Summary: Contains mix-and-match ministries, separating Land Reform from Agriculture, dualism and the ‘missing middle’, rethinking rural development, what are the policy alternatives?
Date: July 2009
Download (344K pdf) -PLAAS website-

Another Countryside? Policy options for land and agrarian reform in South Africa
Source: Ruth Hall ed (PLAAS)
Summary: This book is a compilation of 11 papers that explore the limits of the current approach to land redistribution in South Africa and propose policy alternatives. Centres on 3 themes: how land is to be acquired (which land, and for whom), under what tenure arrangements it is to be held, and how production is to be supported. Focus moves beyond debating alternatives to the ‘willing-buyer, willing-seller’ paradigm to the kind of agrarian change that land reform should pursue. Central to all is reconfiguring the roles of state and market.
Date: June 2009
Download the full book (3,161K pdf) -PLAAS website-

Women’s Property Rights, HIV and AIDS & Domestic Violence. Research Findings from Two Districts in South Africa and Uganda
Source: Hema Swaminathan, Cherryl Walker, Margaret A. Rugadya eds (HSRC Press)
Summary: To better understand the role of tenure security in protecting against, and mitigating the effects of, HIV and violence, this book explores these linkages in Amajuba, South Africa and Iganga, Uganda. Results from the qualitative study revealed that property ownership, while not easily linked to women’s ability to prevent HIV infection, can nonetheless mitigate the impact of AIDS, and enhance a woman’s ability to leave a violent situation.
Date: 2008
Download the full book (1,263K pdf) -HSRC Press website-

Contextualising the controversies: dilemmas of communal tenure reform in post-apartheid South Africa
Source: Introduction to Aninka Claassens and Ben Cousins, Land, Power & Custom: Controversies generated by South Africa’s Communal Land Rights Act (Juta Publishing, Cape Town, 2008)
Summary: Includes the legacies of colonial and apartheid rule; policy dilemmas; key controversies - private ownership or customary land rights?; the nature and content of ‘customary’ land rights; transforming gender inequalities; land rights, authority and accountability; processural or rule-bound versions of ‘customary’ law; was the appropriate procedure followed in enacting the Communal Land Rights Act?
Date: August 2008
Download (229K pdf)

We also want land: A PAR and Land Use Workbook
Source: TCOE (Trust for Community Outreach and Education)
Summary: Includes land issues in South Africa, Participatory Action Research, PAR in action, toolkit of activities. Addresses obstacles to land reform in the Breede River Valley, Western Cape, and how to strengthen local capacities and create awareness of rights.
Date: June 2008
Download (1,387K pdf)

Land Reform in South Africa. Getting back on track
Source: Centre for Development and Enterprise Research Report 16
Summary: Includes case studies: land market dynamics and land reform in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Mpumalanga; current government programmes and policies; South Africa’s land market and land reform; private sector contributions to land reform; 3 agri-business sectors and land reform - fruit, timber, sugar; research conclusions: key challenges to land reform now; where are we now, and where are we heading?; getting back on track: CDE’s recommendations. Of considerable concern that the Director-General of Land Affairs recently said that at least 50% of government land reform projects have failed to make their beneficiaries permanently better off. Much empirical evidence to show that the private sector and markets make major contributions to South Africa’s development in general and to land reform in particular. CDE believes it is vital to understand private sector perspectives on land reform and that the positive role of the private sector in land reform can and should be expanded.
Date: May 2008
Download (630K pdf)-CDE website-

Land Reform and Rural Territories: Experiences from Brazil and South Africa
Source: Julian Quan (IIED Gatekeeper series 134)
Summary: Despite programmes for rural land reform and redistribution around the world, inequitable land distribution and rural poverty remain profound in much of the rural South. Suggests a new approach to land reform and rural development. ‘Rural territorial development’ is based on and encourages shared territorial identity (distinctive productive, historical, cultural and environmental features) amongst different stakeholders and social groupings. Builds on the fact that rural people’s livelihood strategies are complex and often mostly non-agricultural in nature. Works by (1) promoting collaboration between different sectoral agencies, levels and administrative units of government, and with civil society and private sector actors, within distinctive geographical spaces; and (2) creating new, inclusive multi-stakeholder fora for participatory development planning and implementation at the meso scale - working across groupings of local municipalities, which are often too small on their own to drive economic development.
Date: February 2008
Download (159K pdf)-the IIED website-

Tenure Arrangements and Support for Land Rights in South Africa’s Land Reform
Source: Edward Lahiff (PLAAS and ICCO conference on Another Countryside? Policy Options for Land and Agrarian Reform in South Africa, Policy Options 3)
Summary: Contains introduction - the challenge of tenure reform in South Africa; tenure issues in resettlement: redistribution and restitution; tenure security of farm dwellers - securing long-term tenure under ESTA, labour tenants, ways forward; conclusion and recommendations on resettlement and farm dwellers.
Date: 24-25 October 2007
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Land Demand, Targeting & Acquisition in South Africa’s Land Reform
Source: Ruth Hall (PLAAS and ICCO conference on Another Countryside? Policy Options for Land and Agrarian Reform in South Africa, Policy Options 2)
Summary: Includes how land is currently identified and acquired; recognising and responding to demand; what do we know about land needs?; innovative ways of working with needs / demand and supply; land prices; towards alternatives; conclusion; recommendations.
Date: 24-25 October 2007
Download (395K pdf)

Land Use and Livelihoods in South Africa’s Land Reform
Source: Ruth Hall (PLAAS and ICCO conference on Another Countryside? Policy Options for Land and Agrarian Reform in South Africa, Policy Options 1)
Summary: Includes patterns of land use in land reform; how land use is currently planned; livelihood impacts of land uses in land reform; dynamics in the commercial farming sector; international experiences; towards alternative land uses and livelihoods; conclusions; recommendations.
Date: 24-25 October 2007
Download (575K pdf)

Policy options for land reform in South Africa: New Institutional Mechanisms?
Source: Lionel Cliffe (PLAAS Policy Brief 26)
Summary: Since the 2005 Land Summit, new approaches to land reform have been on the agenda, yet there remains little clarity on the way forward. The main focus has been on means of accelerating the redistribution of land through new modes of acquiring land. Acquisition is an important matter but if treated in isolation risks mis-specifying the core problems evident in land reform in South Africa. A new phase of land reform located within a wider agrarian reform is needed and will require new institutional arrangements. Any alternative strategy will have to revise the institutional mechanisms that have been handling land reform thus far: are the procedures and the institutions that are in place to design and implement land reform adequate and appropriate to the kind of new tasks envisaged? What new farming units and activities are intended, and what post-transfer support will be required to make this agricultural system productive? This paper explores mechanisms appropriate to one kind of agricultural alternative: a vision of a productive, small-scale essentially household farm sector. Draws on experiences from Latin America and elsewhere in Africa.
Date: October 2007
Download (357K pdf) -PLAAS website-

PLAAS Research Reports on Restitution in South Africa
Source: PLAAS Research Reports 26-36
Summary: Titles are:
International comparative study of strategies for settlement support provision to land reform beneficiaries by Susan Tilley (RR26);
Business models in land reform by Edward Lahiff (RR27);
Bakwena ba Mare a Phogole (Klipgat) community restitution claim by Susan Tilley and Ntombizabantu Nkazane (RR28);
Groenfontein-Ramohlakane community restitution claim by Susan Tilley, Ntombizabantu Nkazane and Edward Lahiff (RR29);
Restitution and post-settlement support: Three case studies from Limpopo by Tshililo Manenzhe and Edward Lahiff (RR30);
Bjatladi community restitution claim by Susan Tilley and Edward Lahiff (RR31);
The impact of land restitution and land reform on livelihoods by Ruth Hall (RR 32); eMpangisweni community trust claim by Susan Tilley (RR33);
Schmidtsdrift community land claim by Karin Kleinbooi (RR34);
Covie community land claim by Karin Kleinbooi and Edward Lahiff (RR35);
Land redistribution and poverty reduction in South Africa: The livelihood impacts of smallholder agriculture under land reform by Edward Lahiff, Themba Maluleke, Tshililo Manenzhe and Marc Wegerif (RR36)
Date: August 2007
Download (sizes vary between 1,212K and 3,886K pdf) -PLAAS website-

State, Market or the Worst of both? Experimenting with Market-based Land Reform in South Africa
Source: Edward Lahiff (PLAAS LRAC 30)
Summary: Paper reviews the South African experience with land reform, and land redistribution in particular, up to the end of 2005. Looks at various aspects of market-based land reform - landowner veto on participation in land reform; payment of ‘market prices’ for land; self-selection of beneficiaries; focus on ‘commercial’ forms of production; prominent role for the private sector in provision of credit, extension, and other services. The experience suggests that market-based approaches are incapable of effecting a large-scale redistribution of land or restructuring of the agrarian economy, and are likely to be met with growing popular opposition as the crisis of rural livelihoods grows and the limitations of ‘willing seller, willing buyer’ become apparent.
Date: January 2007
Download (368K pdf) -PLAAS website-

More than simply ‘socially embedded’: recognizing the distinctiveness of African land rights
Source: Ben Cousins and Aninka Claassens, Keynote address at international symposium on ‘At the frontier of land issues: social embeddedness of rights and public policy’, Montpellier, France)
Summary: Discusses controversies generated by recent South African legislation (the Communal Land Rights Act), shows how these echo debates in the wider African context, and explores potential solutions to reform of ‘customary’ land tenure regimes. Argues that the most appropriate approach to tenure reform is to make socially legitimate occupation and use rights the point of departure for both their recognition in law and for the design of institutional contexts for mediating competing claims and administering land. Legal frameworks should vest land rights in the people who occupy and use land, not in groups or institutions, while recognising that these rights are shared and relative within a variety of nested social units.
Date: 17-19 May 2006
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Still Searching for Security. The reality of farm dweller evictions in South Africa
Source: Mark Wegerif, Bev Russell and Irma Grundling (Social Surveys and Nkuzi Development Association)
Summary: Documents the history of evictions of rural dwellers based on a comprehensive survey of people displaced from South African farms between 1984-2004. Content includes methodology and objectives of the study, the scale of evictions, perspectives from commercial farmers, the impact of evictions on the livelihoods of farm dwellers, local impact, aspirations of evictees, possible interventions.
Date: December 2005
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From ‘willing seller, willing buyer’ to a people-driven land reform
Source: Edward Lahiff (PLAAS Policy Brief 17)
Summary: The concept of ‘willing seller, willing buyer’ has dominated the discourse on land reform in South Africa since 1994. Now, following the national Land Summit of July 2005, it appears that government is willing to abandon this approach, but there is little indication of what this might mean in practice. Explores the origins and meaning of ‘willing seller, willing buyer’ and the alternatives that might take its place. Headings include moving beyond the market, ending the landowner veto, just and equitable compensation, empowering the landless.
Date: September 2005
Download (634K pdf) -PLAAS website-

Perspectives on Land Tenure Security in Rural and Urban South Africa
Source: Leap (Legal Entity Assessment Project)
Summary: Subtitled ‘an analysis of the tenure context and a problem statement for Leap.’ Comprises (i) context - current analyses of tenure, the South African context, tenure security and vulnerability; (ii) multiple tenure arrangements in South Africa - customary tenure arrangements, Registration of Deeds system, local and off register tenure arrangements in rural and urban areas, transitional tenure arrangements; (iii) problem statements - multiple tenure arrangements, vulnerability and tenure; (iv) points of departure for phase 4 - understanding, recognition and integration, vulnerability. Contains an innovative executive summary and a useful bibliography.
Date: June 2005
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Rural People do need Land for Farming
Source: Ben Cousins (PLAAS)
Summary: A critique of the CDE report, Land Reform in South Africa, which, the author claims, underestimates the potential of smallholder agriculture in a country with a large domestic market for food products. Far too much is claimed in the report for the private sector and agribusiness. Government needs new and better conceived policies. Insists that rural land reform remains an urgent priority for South Africa as does tenure reform in urban and peri-urban areas. There is need for an integrated rural and urban approach.
Date: June 2005
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Land Reform in South Africa: a 21st Century Perspective
Source: Ann Bernstein (Centre for Development and Enterprise, Research Report 14)
Summary: Includes recent political and policy developments, research findings and conclusions, a wider national picture, changing the discourse, a challenge to the private sector, South Africa faces a choice. Argues that South Africa’s current land reform model is largely informed by an outmoded vision of the role of agriculture and the rural areas in South African society, so is overloaded with expectations it cannot fulfil. Land reform is now predominantly an urban challenge.
Date: June 2005
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Land and Agrarian Reform in South Africa: A Status Report 2004
Source: Ruth Hall (PLAAS Research Report 20)
Summary: Includes a retrospective of 10 years of land reform, restitution, redistribution, farm tenure reform, communal tenure reform, debating the future of land and agrarian reform, conclusions. Argues that there is a need for the state to intervene to make suitable land available to meet local needs, rather than relying wholly on land markets. Significant progress has been made, but there is a need to integrate land reform with agricultural policy, rural development and local economic development, thus locating the redistribution of land and land rights at the centre of a wider process of pro-poor agrarian reform.
Date: December 2004
Download (1,007K pdf) -PLAAS website-

Oxfam and Land in Post-Conflict Situations in Africa: Examples from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Rwanda and Angola
Source: Robin Palmer (Oxfam GB Global Land Adviser)
Summary: Presentation of 5 brief case studies of what Oxfam actually did with regards land in post-conflict situations in Africa, in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Rwanda and Angola, concluding with the common themes, conclusions and lessons that emerged from the case studies. Also includes a critique of the role of USAID.
Date: November 2004
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Budgeting for land reform
Source: Ruth Hall and Edward Lahiff (PLAAS Policy Brief 13)
Summary: The primary purpose of land reform in South Africa is to redistribute agricultural and other land to address the racially skewed pattern of landholding and promote development. Slow progress in land reform over the past decade underscores the urgency of finding ways to accelerate the process. The state has adopted a market-assisted approach to redistribution. This means that land is usually bought at full market price. In addition, substantial funding is needed for the implementation of the programme and for post-settlement support to beneficiaries. The budget allocated to land reform is therefore of central importance to the programme. Surveys trends in the land reform budget over the past decade, with particular emphasis on redistribution.
Date: August 2004
Download (203K pdf) -PLAAS website-

Civil society and social movements: Advocacy for land and resource rights in Africa
Source: Munyaradzi Saruchera and Michael O Odhiambo (PLAAS Policy Brief 12)
Summary: Civil society formations in Africa have historically played an important part in the establishment of organising people in the pursuit of common goals. The majority of Africa’s people reside in rural areas where they derive their livelihoods from land, and for this majority secure access to land is the foundation of any efforts to alleviate poverty. Land reforms in Africa are at various stages of development in a number of countries, partly in response to pressures for liberalisation and privatisation from the World Bank and other like-minded institutions. Civil society organisations have played an important role in the development of progressive policies in some countries. The lessons learned from those countries must be applied in continuing advocacy for reforms which increase access among the poor to land and resource rights.
Date: August 2004
Download (54K pdf) -PLAAS website-

The context of land and resource rights struggles in Africa
Source: Munyaradzi Saruchera (Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS Policy Brief 9)
Summary: Africa’s poor are heavily dependent on land and natural resources for livelihood, but some governments continue to resist transferring full resource management rights to them. This risks the loss or degradation of these resources, or their transfer into private hands. The continent’s development challenges are compounded by many factors, including unequal social, economic and political relations, the legacy of colonialism, globalisation, and collusive neo-liberal policy which favours capital and powerful allies. In addition, the voice of Africans in the debates which shape important processes at global, continental and national levels are seldom heard. The Pan-Africa Programme on Land and Resource Rights (PAPLRR) is a civil society initiative which sets out to address these issues.
Date: August 2004
Download (38K pdf) -PLAAS website-

A Political Economy of Land Reform in South Africa
Source: Ruth Hall, Review of African Political Economy, Vol.31, No.100, June 2004, pp.213-27
Summary: Land reform is one way in which the ‘new’ South Africa set out to redress the injustices of apartheid and, by redistributing land to black South Africans, to transform the structural basis of racial inequality. During the first decade of democracy, land reform has fallen far short of both public expectations and official targets. This article describes the progress of the programme and its changing nature. It is argued that a recent shift in land policy, from a focus on the rural poor to ‘emerging’ black commercial farmers, is consistent with changes in macro-economic policy and reflects shifting class alliances. The programme now appears to pursue a limited deracialisation of the commercial farming areas rather than a process of agrarian restructuring. Most fundamentally, land reform has not yet provided a strategy to overcome agrarian dualism.
Date: June 2004
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Traditional Land Matters - A Look into Land Administration in Tribal Areas in Kwazulu-Natal
Source: Rauri Alcock and Donna Hornby (Legal Entity Assessment Project)
Summary: Describes current land administration practices as understood by traditional structures to unpack some components of existing African tenure arrangements in KwaZulu-Natal. Hoped this will help better to understand how communal land systems operate, regardless of which structure governs them, in order to support practices that secure tenure effectively. Includes introduction, background to the research, the debate about the role of traditional institutions in a democracy, gender equity, research objectives and methodology, research findings - structure, land administration, access, use and alienation, conclusions.
Date: June 2004
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Follow-Up Discussions on Land Reform in South Africa: A Report on Prospects for Dialogue
Source: Land Reform ’Think Tank’ Group
Summary: In March 2003 a group of land reform practitioners and researchers met informally to discuss the state of land reform in Southern Africa and to explore ideas about constructive ways forward. Following this, in late June 2003 a number of participants from the ‘think-tank’ workshop held discussions with various stakeholders in South Africa to get feedback on the report and to identify their views, with a desire to encourage debate and contribute to the building of greater consensus on the importance of meaningful, sustainable land reform. The spirit of the meetings was encouraging about the prospects for serious debate, notwithstanding the very different points of view on what equitable and sustainable land reform means in different constituencies. This report presents a summary of the discussions, states who was involved in them and summarises areas of agreement and disagreement, and areas for constructive debate and provides the names of five people who can be contacted in their personal capacities.
Date: 19 September 2003
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Land use and rural livelihoods: Have they been enhanced through land reform?
Source: Maura Andrew, Charlie Shackleton and Andrew Ainslie (PLAAS Policy Brief 5)
Summary: It is often assumed that transferring land to rural households will provide people with valuable assets that can be productively used to enhance their livelihoods. Unfortunately, few rural people or land reform beneficiaries are perceived to be using land productively because they do not engage in significant commercial production for the market. Transferring land to subsistence users is therefore seen as a waste of resources. However, an examination of land use in communal areas and amongst land reform beneficiaries indicates that resource-poor rural people do use land productively and resourcefully, but the constraints to production and participation in agricultural markets they encounter limit their livelihoods to survivalist mode. Land reform can enhance rural livelihoods beyond this survivalist mode if it is integrated into a broader rural development programme aimed at providing subsistence land users with the support they need to overcome the constraints to production, and to connect them to the markets.
Date: August 2003
Download (164K pdf) -PLAAS website-

Key Lessons Learned from Working with Six Land Reform Communities in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa
Source: FARM-Africa
Summary: Looks at key problems affecting land reform beneficiaries in FARM-Africa projects in the Northern Cape: livelihoods, the right to settle, lack of infrastructure, too poor to farm?, development plans, the management capacity of executive committees, gaining access to technical agricultural support and credit, equitable access and grazing fees, obligations of having water rights, the responsibility for Act 126 projects, government policies and their effects on emerging farmers.
Date: August 2003
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’Land for Peace’ - A Submission to the South African Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs
Source: Roger Roman
Summary: Argues the need for landowners in South Africa to draw lessons from events in Zimbabwe and to be much more radical, proactive and imaginative in promoting needed changes in land reform, failing which they will have no future, as pressures from the landless intensify. The current status quo is unsustainable and the national effort inadequate. The private sector has a key role to play to break the current logjam. Increasing number of landowners are beginning to see the light and accept political realities. Calls for a land summit to negotiate a comprehensive agrarian transformation. The entire meaning and exercising of landownership needs to be creatively revisited and redefined. Soon to launch a Land for Peace initiative to push forward these ideas.
Date: 3 June 2003
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What Went Wrong? A Perspective on the First Five Years of Land Redistribution in South Africa, with Homily for the Next Five
Source: Michael Aliber
Summary: Begins with a brief overview of South Africa’s redistribution programme. Offers an interpretation of ‘what went wrong’ with the land redistribution programme that prevailed between 1995 and 1999, followed by a scan of the problems that do or will limit the revised redistribution programme in respect of its rural development objective. Concludes tentatively with remarks about the burden of redistribution in redressing past injustices, and explains how the revised redistribution programme is especially ill suited to this purpose.
Date: June 2003
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Struggling to Secure and Defend the Land Rights of the Poor in Africa
Source: Robin Palmer (Oxfam GB Land Policy Adviser) Published in Journal fur Entwicklungspolitik (Austrian Journal of Development Studies), XIX, 1, 2003, 6-21. This was part of a special edition devoted to land reform in Africa edited by Birgit Englert and Walter Schicho.
Summary: Focuses on struggles to secure and defend the land rights of the poor in Africa. A very brief introduction sketches the impact of liberalisation on land in Africa, then looks at the deeper context of land reform, and at the current role of donors. Goes on to look at detailed case studies of Uganda, Mozambique and South Africa and examines reasons for successes and failures of pro-poor land struggles in those countries. Concludes by focusing on the issue of redistribution in Southern Africa.
Date: March 2003
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The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Land: Case Studies from Kenya, Lesotho and South Africa
Source: Scott Drimie (Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa)
Summary: Paper prepared for the FAO’s Southern and Eastern Africa Office. Contains introduction to the impact of HIV/AIDS on land issues - land use, land rights, land administration; country studies; the impact of HIV/AIDS in Lesotho, in Kenya, in South Africa, and general findings and recommendations. Latter include land use strategies, land rights and land administration, and developing solutions.
Date: September 2002
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Unscrambling the Apartheid Map
Source: Martin Adams (Mokoro)
Summary: An examination of land tenure arrangements in the former homelands of South Africa and of post-apartheid attempts to deal with them. Includes a critique of the new Communal Land Rights Bill. Argues that the very limited capacity of government’s over-centralised land administration has been the bugbear of land reform in South Africa and that over-optimistic predictions of the speed and scope of reforms have haunted officials and politicians who made them. Fears the new Bill will undermine the opportunity to strengthen the land rights of the poor.
Date: September 2002
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Reforming Communal Land Tenure in South Africa � why Land Titling is not the Answer. Critical Comments on the Communal Land Rights Bill, 2002
Source: Ben Cousins (PLAAS)
Summary: Includes the need for tenure reform; the draft CLRB does not provide appropriate solutions; learning from the African and the South African experiences; why titling is generally inappropriate and ineffective; the unintended consequences of titling programmes; why the draft Bill will not be able to be effectively implemented; the alternative to land titling - learning from new land tenure laws in Mozambique and Tanzania.
Date: 10 September 2002
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Radical Land Reform is Key to Sustainable Rural Development in South Africa
Source: Thembela Kepe and Ben Cousins (PLAAS Policy Brief 3)
Summary: Argues that sustainable development in 21st century South Africa will never be achieved without a radical assault on the structural underpinnings of poverty and inequality inherited from 3 centuries of oppression and exploitation. A large-scale redistribution of land and resources, accompanied by the securing of tenure rights in practice as well as in law, is required for long-term sustainability. Asks how is the government’s land reform performing, and how sustainable are land-based livelihoods?
Date: August 2002
Download (158K pdf) -PLAAS website-

LEAP News: July 2002
Source: Legal Entity Assessment Project (LEAP)
Summary: Newsletter of a South African research group looking at tenure security issues and legal entities, particularly Common Property Associations (CPAs). Stresses the importance of adapting rather than replacing existing institutions that already work. Provides a list of 20 research papers, conference reports etc which can be ordered by email.
Date: July 2002
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An Examination of Market-assisted Agrarian Reform in South Africa
Source: Commissioned by the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF), Researched by Susan Tilley for the International Labour Resource and Information Group (ILRIG)
Summary: Includes what is meant by market-assisted agrarian reform, history of land tenure and agriculture in South Africa, framework for agrarian reform, land reform strategies, monitoring and evaluation of land reform, conclusions - land reform and social transformation.
Date: May 2002
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Tenure Reform back on the Agenda?
Source: Edward Lahiff (PLAAS)
Summary: A short report on the national Land Tenure Conference. Argues that the thorny issue of tenure reform is at last being taken seriously. Land administration in the former homelands is in chaos. Those living on commercial farms have precarious tenure. Traditional leaders are digging in their heels over control of communal land. Need for robust political leadership and allocation of resources to ensure that rights become real. Hopes conference will be followed by a lively process of public consultation and debate.
Date: December 2001
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The New Land Law: Democracy or neo-feudalism?
Source: Ben Cousins (PLAAS)
Summary: A short analysis of the new draft Communal Land Rights Bill and of the tenure problems in the former homelands. Argues that the bill would greatly strengthen the powers of unelected traditional leaders at the expense of ordinary rural dwellers.
Date: 29 November 2001
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The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Land Reform in KwaZulu-Natal
Source: Scott Drimie and Deborah Heustice (SARPN)
Summary: Proceedings of a seminar hosted by SARPN and the Centre for HIV/AIDS Networking, University of Natal, Durban. Contains 1. Introduction; 2. Overview of the current situation; 3. Overview of existing land reform HIV/AIDS policy and integration into Department of Land Affairs programmes; 4. Identification of key issues and challenges; 5. The challenge: developing a way forward.
Date: 23 November 2001
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Sustainable Development: What’s Land Got To Do With It?
Source: Stephen Turner (PLAAS Policy Brief 2)
Summary: South Africa is reviewing its plans and progress towards sustainable development ahead of the 2002 World Summit in Johannesburg. Argues that more attention needs to be given to land reform as a key component of sustainable development strategy. Raises a number of questions and concerns that need debate before the Summit and beyond. Focuses particularly on land reform, poverty and livelihoods, and on land reform and the environment.
Date: 29 October 2001
Download (144K pdf) -PLAAS website-

Land Reform in South Africa: is it meeting the Challenge?
Source: Edward Lahiff (PLAAS Policy Brief 1)
Summary: Focuses on tenure reform (as a necessary first step); securing rights for farmworkers and labour tenants; slow progress and key challenges in restitution; redistribution; what is to be done? Offers an overview of the key challenges facing land reform and suggests a number of ways in which the current reform programme can be accelerated to fight poverty and inequality. Argues there is urgent need for a comprehensive, transparent, participatory process and for widespread public debate, especially in the light of events in Zimbabwe. Also a need to revisit fundamentals, for a clear and coherent vision, and a more interventionist approach by the state, as the market alone cannot deliver land in the places, at the scale or price required for a major national programme of transformation.
Date: September 2001
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Lawyers and Land Reform in South Africa: A Review of the Land, Housing & Development Work of the Legal Resources Centre (LRC)
Source: Robin Palmer (Oxfam GB Land Policy Adviser)
Summary: An historical review of the land reform work of the South African Legal Resources Centre, a non-profit public interest law centre which seeks to use law as an instrument of justice by providing legal services for the vulnerable and marginalised. Includes the creation of the LRC; the challenge of ending apartheid - going for new laws, a new constitution, and social and economic rights; donors, the project approach and its impact on the LRC; review of the Land, Housing and Development Programme; future roles and possibilities for the LRC - relations with government, the Western Cape alliance?; the focus issue; the funding question � internal or external?; what impacts beyond the borders?
Date: September 2001, published June 2002 on the LRC’s website, with an introduction by Steve Kahanovitz, LRC Legal Director
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Land Reform requires Holy Cows to be sacrificed
Source: Ben Cousins (PLAAS)
Summary: Critiques recent official statements that land reform policies are not contentious.
Argues that there is desperate need of a re-think, failing which urban and rural land invasions will increase. We need a new paradigm on the respective roles of the state and market. Argues that government must become a proactive agent of land redistribution, that high quality land along the borders of the former reserves be targeted, that land and natural resources are vital, but not the only, focus of development. Concludes that land reform is inherently complex and slow.
Date: 5 August 2001
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Rural Women to fight for their Right to Land
Source: Glenda Daniels
Summary: The Commission for Gender Equality has put land restitution programme at the top of its agenda for the gender summit in August. Cites paper by Dr Funiwe Jaiyesimi-Njobe saying the big problem is that land is usually allocated to groups headed by males. Women and communities are too often viewed as homogeneous groups. Calls for encouragement of a critical mass of women entrepreneurs in rural areas. Also cites Samantha Hargreaves of the National Land Committee saying women are usually excluded from restitution programme and are unlikely to be represented on CBOs.
Date: 5 June 2001
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What Land Reform has meant and could mean to Farm Workers in South Africa
Source: Ruth Hall, Karin Kleinbooi and Ndodomzi Mvambo (Centre for Rural Legal Studies)
Summary: Covers introduction, farm workers in South Africa, tenure security for farm workers with a focus on ESTA - including the justice system, farmers’ responses and women farm workers; equity share schemes; rural housing and land redistribution; lessons to and from South Africa.
Date: 4-5 June 2001 (SARPN Conference)
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Land Reform and Poverty Alleviation in South Africa
Source: Sipho Sibanda
Summary: Contains introduction, the 3 legs of the South African land reform programme, the orderly implementation of land reform programmes, scope for further land reform, the role of other stakeholders, a table of land redistribution 1994-2000.
Date: 4-5 June 2001 (SARPN Conference)
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Addressing Food Insecurity in South Africa
Source: Samuel Bonti-Ankomah (National Institute for Economic Policy)
Summary: Includes food insecurity and its consequences, unemployment, household incomes and expenditure, the food expenditure gap, nutritional programmes, land reform and food security.
Date: 4-5 June 2001 (SARPN Conference)
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Poverty Alleviation, Economic Advancement and the Need for Tenure Reform in Rural Areas in South Africa
Source: Durkje Gilfillan (Legal Resources Centre)
Summary: Covers conceptual and historical background, constraints on land as a resource for development, 3 case studies, the constitutional and legal framework for tenure reform, conclusion.
Date: 4-5 June 2001 (SARPN Conference)
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May Farming make a Contribution to Poverty Alleviation in a ‘Deep Rural’ Area in South Africa? - Lessons from Oxfam GB’s Sustainable Livelihood Programme at Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal
Source: Nigel Taylor and Rob Cairns (Oxfam GB)
Summary: Executive summary, background to Nkandla, livelihoods under threat, potential for agriculture, Oxfam GB’s findings - a role for agriculture?, impact of HIV/AIDS, what options for livelihoods?, conclusions.
Date: 4-5 June 2001 (SARPN Conference)
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Promoting Development and Land Reform on South African Farms
Source: Dave Husy and Carolien Samson (Land Bank of South Africa)
Summary: Covers current situation on South African farms, current development initiatives, the Land Bank and farm workers, issues and challenges, concluding comments.
Date: 4-5 June 2001 (SARPN Conference)
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Farm Dwellers: Citizens without Rights, the Unfinished National Question
Source: Andile Mngxitama (National Land Committee)
Summary: Includes poverty reduction and land reform, profile of farm dwellers, access to land, the creation of farm dwellers, the National Question and land reform, non-market v. market land reform, the East Asian and Latin American experiences, consequences of reform, South Africa and the land question, can the problems be overcome?, the prospects for South Africa.
Date: 4-5 June 2001 (SARPN Conference)
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Land Reform in South Africa: Problems and Prospects
Source: Ruth Hall (Centre for Rural Legal Studies, Stellenbosch) and Gavin Williams (St. Peter’s College, Oxford)
Summary: An overview of land reform in South Africa, containing the integration of land reform and agricultural development; defining policy agenda; squaring circles - restitution, land rights, redistribution, the contradictions of land reform; going back to the beginning - reviewing reforms, land reform in historical and comparative perspectives; the ironies of the new - transferring land, policies, plans and outcomes.
Date: 12 December 2000 (Gaborone Conference on Southern Africa’s Evolving Security Architecture: Prospects and Problems)
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Publication of a Guide to the Creation of Sustainable Joint Venture Partnerships in Land Reform
Source: Department of Land Affairs, Land Reform Credit Facility
Summary: Announces publication of a manual on the creation of land reform joint venture partnerships. These are commercial partnerships between landowners and historically excluded worker households or local communities. The manual is intended to assist those involved in commercial land reform ventures. Also provides details of the Land Reform Credit Facility.
Date: 20 November 2000
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Creating the Black Commercial Farmer
Source: Samuel Kariuki (University of the Witwatersrand)
Summary: Looks at the problems of creating a stratum of black commercial farmers in South Africa in the light of historical experiences in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Argues that this will be a daunting challenge since apartheid tried to destroy black commercial farmers. The double challenge will be to unlock historical structural constraints within the agrarian economy and to reorient the current macro-economic climate to be more responsive to the needs of small-scale black farmers.
Date: 26 September 2000
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Politics of Land Reform in the ‘New’ South Africa
Source: Gavin Capps and Simon Batterbury (LSE)
Summary: Report of a workshop at the LSE. Contains list of participants, outline of the workshop and discussion notes by Gavin Capps, report on the workshop by Simon Batterbury, and remarks prepared for the workshop by Abie Ditlhake (South African NGO Coalition). The workshop aimed to grasp recent changes in land policy in South Africa and enable activists and analysts to take stock and discuss responses. Includes discussion of paper by Ruth Hall and Gavin Williams and presentation by Ben Cousins.
Date: 7 June 2000
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National Land Committee Principles on Restitution, Rural Development, Communal Tenure, Redistribution and Farm Tenure
Source: National Land Committee (NLC)
Summary: Statement of principles adopted at NLC policy summit in June 2000 on the above subjects plus cross cutting issues.
Date: 1-2 June 2000
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Does Land and Agrarian Reform in South Africa have a Future? And if so, who will Benefit?
Source: Ben Cousins
Summary: Introduction to a new book, At the Crossroads: Land and Agrarian Reform in South Africa into the 21st Century, based on a PLAAS/NLC conference of July 1999. In addressing whether land and agrarian reform has a future in South Africa and who might benefit, the book’s editor discusses the political context of the conference; integrated rural development; the new policy directions announced in February 2000; and the structure and contents of the book
Date: May 2000
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Why Land Invasions will Happen Here too
Source: Ben Cousins
Summary: Examines the current crisis in Zimbabwe, the land question in Zimbabwe and South Africa, the two land redistribution policies compared, poverty and the rule of law, populist policies and land invasions. Argues that despite the differences between South Africa and Zimbabwe, land invasions could occur in South Africa because of the failure to address deepening rural poverty and the continuing emotive issue of highly unequal and racially skewed land distribution.
Date: April 2000
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Land Reform at the Crossroads: who will Benefit?
Source: Ben Cousins
Summary: A response to the Minister’s Briefing (below). Asks who is land redistribution really serving. Challenges false dichotomy between commercial and subsistence agriculture. Need for government programmes to be open to close scrutiny by civil society.
Date: 20 February 2000
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Parliamentary Media Briefing by the Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs, Ms Thoko Didiza
Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, South Africa
Summary: Mentions new food security programme, transfer of state land, land tenure, land reform grant, new approach, commonage, agricultural redistribution grants, integrated rural development planning. Will facilitate transfer of tribal land to tribes and communities. Extended deadline for labour tenant claims to March 2001. Previous overemphasis on market forces failed to produce desired effect and impact. Lifted last August’s moratorium on new land reform projects. Piloting a supply led system. New grant system aimed at redistributing at least 15% of farm land in 5 years to emergent black farmers.
Date: February 2000
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Policy Statement by the Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs for Strategic Directions on Land Issues
Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, South Africa
Summary: Covers assessment, limitations, policy directive and emphasis, redistribution, compensation in restitution, tenure reform, disposal of state land, farm dweller tenure security, principles underpinning land tenure reform in the former homelands, spatial planning approach to land reform, integrated policy formation, the programme of change, moratorium on redistribution projects.
Date: February 2000
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Setbacks to Tenure Reform in the ex-Homelands of South Africa
Source: Martin Adams (Mokoro)
Summary: Martin Adams has been seconded in recent years to the South African Department of Land Affairs. Here he examines the content and fate of the Land Rights Bill and the recent political opposition to it.
Date: December 1999
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Land Tenure and Economic Development in Rural South Africa: Constraints and Opportunities
Source: Martin Adams, Ben Cousins & Siyabulela Manona, (ODI Working Paper 125)
Summary: Summarises the results of recent research into tenure insecurity and policy implications. Argues that legislation is needed to confirm people’s rights.
Date: December 1999
Download (115K pdf) -ODI website-

The Institutional Arrangements for Land Reform: the South African Case
Source: Martin Adams (Mokoro), Sipho Sibanda and Glen Thomas (Paper at the Stakeholder Workshop on the National Land Policy, Harare, Zimbabwe)
Summary: The authors currently work for the tenure reform group within the South African Department of Land Affairs. Their paper provides an overview of South African land reform policy, its scope (redistribution, restitution, tenure reform), milestones in the institutional development of the Department of Land Affairs, and institutional issues that still have to be resolved.
Date: 14-15 June 1999
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A Gender Analysis of recent South African Land Reform
Source: Fanelwa Mhago and Melanie Samson (UNIFEM)
Summary: Includes background, tenure arrangements, women and land tenure, customary marriages, the land issue after apartheid, criticisms of the legislation, the relationship of land legislation to customary law, recommendations.
Date: February 1998
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Land Reform in South Africa in 1997
Source: Oxfam GB Briefing Paper (Sue Wixley)
Summary: Covers new integrated approach and new partnerships, new laws, some setbacks to land claims, targeting of church and unused land for redistribution, tenure reform, and developments with project partners.
Date: March 1997
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Mokoro is pleased to host the ’Land Rights in Africa’ site as a contribution to the land rights dialogue. The findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed in the papers presented in the Land Rights in Africa pages are entirely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Mokoro. Mokoro cannot guarantee the accuracy of the data included in the documents.

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