Françoise Gallet looks at how creative solutions are needed to tackle land reform.
Land reform in South Africa is in crisis. This is according to Professor Ben Cousins, National Research Foundation chair in poverty, land and agrarian studies at the University of the Western Cape. Land is a finite resource. But, we all use and need it for food, water, shelter, income generation, culture and spirituality. The question
LAND REFORM IS COMPLEX
Land grabs that occurred nearly 350 years ago eroded indigenous people’s rights to land and natural resources. They were also left without key productive resources. This makes land reform complex – not only must post-apartheid policies redress historical injustices, they must also create sustainable livelihoods through production, employment creation and fair forms of growth. But, democratic land reform has barely altered this unequal structure, and has had only minor impacts on livelihoods. “Farmworkers and dwellers have no security of tenure, land claims lodged over a decade ago are still waiting, and poorly resourced small-scale farmers have limited and insecure access to land. Additionally, access to water and markets, as well as the land rights of people living on communal land, are not secured. They are also at the mercy of undemocratically elected traditional leaders,” says Sithandiwe Yeni, national coordinator of Tshintsha Amakhaya, a civil society alliance for land, food and water justice in rural SA.
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