Panel Paper: Expectation and Reality: The Politics of Land Reform in South Africa

Thursday, November 7, 2013 : 10:05 AM
3016 Adams (Washington Marriott)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Meron andemicheal Okbandrias, University of Kwa Zulu Natal
Expectation and Reality: The Politics of Land Reform in South Africa

With the advent of democracy in South Africa, the vast black majority expected equitable distribution of land and compensation to the land it has lost or never had a chance to own. Therefore, it has been a bitter pill to swallow for those who fought for the realization of the Freedom Charter; a guiding social and economic policy document of the ANC (ruling party).  The transition negotiation has included an agreement that land transfer has to be gradual and fair. The question arises; fair to whom? Twenty years down the line, the ANC has come up with a policy discussion document that seeks to amend the land reform policy. The policy has three features; land redistribution, tenure reform and restitution. The argument is not only about the land transfer from the white owned majority land to blacks but the gender skewed land distribution in rural South Africa. This paper however is going to focus on the viability of the returning land to unskilled, under financed and divided black communities and the politics that surround it.  Existing literature indicates that the already transferred land has not been that productive. However, the ruling party and its alliance partners insist the willing buyer and willing seller policy is not working. On the other hand Agri SA, the organization that represents the mainly white land and farm owners insists that the market should continue to regulate land transfer. The study seeks to analyse the stakeholders and the myriad interests in this policy from the available literature.

Full Paper: