Accepted paper:

Rural transformation in South Africa: a focus on the former bantustans and commercial farming areas


Lungisile Ntsebeza (University of Cape Town)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers prospects of rural transformation in South Africa following the adoption by the General Assembly of a motion to amend the South African constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation. The focus will be on the former bantustans and commercial farms

Paper long abstract:

The endorsement by the African National Congress (ANC) of expropriation of land without compensation as policy at its 54th conference in December 2017 sparked a series of debates and discussions in South Africa, opening up prospects of more land becoming available for land reform in South Africa. Hitherto, the pace of land reform in South Africa had been disastrous and had almost come to a halt following the promulgation of the Pro-active Land Acquisition strategy Act of 2006 which allowed government to purchase land and lease it, rather than transfer ownership to land reform beneficiaries as was the case since the establishment of the land reform programme in 1994. One of the key questions that comes up in debate and discussion is who will benefit from expropriated land. This paper argues that as far as the countryside is concerned, expropriated agricultural land should address congestion and overcrowding in the rural areas of the former bantustans and landlessness affecting farm workers and dwellers. Land tenure in the countryside of the former bantustans is based on occupation rights that are precarious and farm workers and dwellers reside on land that is not theirs. Residents in both areas require not only tenure that is secure, but, for some, land to make decent livelihoods. The criteria for deciding who should get land and for what are issues at the heart of the paper. The broader issue that this paper is grappling with the dualism characterizing South Africa's countryside and how to address it.

panel Econ12
The crisis of land in South Africa