‘PARADIGM SHIFT NEEDED ON LAND REFORM’

THE WILLING BUYER, WILLING SELLER principle, lack of post-settlement support and limited budgets are three interrelated challenges of South Africa’s land reform programme and need a paradigmatic shift in approach.

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This was the message from Ruth Hall, researcher with the University of the Western Cape’s Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies, who was speaking at the launch of the book The Land Question in South Africa: The Challenges of Transformation and Redistribution, which she co-edited with Prof Lungisile Ntsebeza.
The book is a collection of papers presented at a 2004 land conference.
Hall said despite an increase in the pace of land delivery between 2001 and 2006, the pace is still too slow, given the national target of transferring 30% of white-owned commercial farmland into black hands by 2014. She said due to the country’s active market, opportunities to acquire land through the market for reform have been missed.

“This is because the size and infrastructure of commercial farms are often inappropriate. Proactive measures to subdivide agricultural holdings are needed,” she said.
Hall said post-transfer support to beneficiaries has been a critical gap in land reform. – Fidelis Zvomuya