Mail & Guardian: Land Reform Is a Broken Ladder

The rural people of South Africa expect land reform. Land is being redistributed, but the demand for small tracts is not being met, reports the Human Sciences Research Council, “as the state has sought to increase the percentage of land in black hands, it has focused increasingly on transferring large farms, often to established black businesses and commercial operators, rather than on supporting smallholders and emerging new farmers,” explain Leslie Bank and Tim Hart for the Mail & Guardian. Some owners try managing common property with support from government officials on fencing and water, but cooperation fades as differences emerge. More people prefer managing one small plot per household. Other criticisms include favoritism in distribution, excessive focus on agricultural uses, profit-taking and consolidation, and water shortages and waste. Another complication: owners trading land without formal exchange of deeds or registration. “Without proof of title, rural households cannot leverage capital from the private sector and often remain dependent on family remittances or state aid for support to develop their land,” the article notes. “This can also often leave them dependent on traditional leaders and officials, who might not have their best interests at heart.” – YaleGlobal

Mail & Guardian: Land Reform Is a Broken Ladder

In rural South Africa, land distribution is underway and many people prefer small parcels per household as more manageable
Leslie Bank and Tim Hart
Thursday, September 28, 2017

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Leslie Bank is deputy director and Tim Hart a senior researcher at the Economic Performance and Development unit of the Human Sciences Research Council.

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