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“Land Reform and Development: Evaluating South Africa’s Restitution and Redistribution Programmes” – AgEcon

 February 2008


By Ward Anseeuw & Ntombifuthi Mathebula

” I. Introduction

1. Land reform in South Africa: addressing the inequalities of the past

At the first conference on land redistribution in South Africa, held in Johannesburg in 1993, Cyril Ramaphosa, the then secretary general of the ANC, noted that South Africa is not unique in its unequal land distribution but rather in the policy measures that have led to this situation (ANC, 1993). In contrast to most other countries with unequal land distribution, South Africa has a history of specific racial policies with clear implications for land distribution and ownership. This heritage of inequality was formalised with the implementation of the two Natives Land Acts of 1913 and 1936. The first act gave only 8% and the second only 13% of South Africa’s territory to non-whites, who at the time represented about 90% of the country’s population. This legislation further confined the coloured population to reserves and the black population to bantustans, where land tenure was insecure and farming practices
mainly communal. Other measures restricted land tenancy or sharecropping possibilities for black and coloured populations living on land owned by white farmers, which in effect suffocated the (commercial) farming activities of these nonwhite farmers and prompted an exodus to the reserves and bantustans. The result of these policies was the acquisition of land by whites and the elimination of the black peasantry, who then provided cheap adult male labour for the commercial farming, industry and mining sectors (Van Onselen, 1996)…” – AgEcon

Read the full report from AgEcon.

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