South africa a land of many faces

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South africa a land of many faces

Inat the end of apartheid, almost 90 percent of the land in South Africa was owned by white South Africans, who make up less than 10 percent of the population. The government led by the African National Congress ANC vowed to redistribute land, but as we see in the film Promised Land, implementing land reform policies has been a struggle.

South africa a land of many faces

Recently, government officials announced that the deadline for shifting one third of the country's land from white farmers to black residents has been postponed until What is the state of land reform in South Africa today?

How much land has been reclaimed? How many active land claims are there? Do claims continue to be filed? Land reform has fallen far short of expectations -- and official targets -- in every respect: Less than 7 percent of land has been redistributed to date, and if current performance continues there is no likelihood that the target of one third will be achieved even by Additionally, that one third figure was always intended as an interim target, with the idea that the ultimate target should be in line with the country's demographics.

To push that interim target back to 31 years after liberation is to abdicate responsibility for fundamental change and to condemn a whole generation to continued landlessness and poverty. Legal claims on specific portions of land i. There is no time limit on the latter process, although it has been hampered by insufficient budgets and bureaucratic delays.

South africa a land of many faces

Government has tended to blame intransigent white landowners for the slow performance of this program, but that is only a small part of the problem.

However, this approach has been criticized as one of the causes of the slow land transference. What happened in the past when white owners didn't want to sell or black claimants lacked the resources to buy land at market prices? What alternative approaches are being implemented?

The great majority of these claimants who totaled approximately 80, individuals, families and community groups settled for cash compensation, so no land changed hands. A minority have gotten back their land -- a total of 2.

In such cases the state has threatened some owners with expropriation i. More important is the land redistribution program, which refers to voluntary transactions through the market, assisted by grants from the state.

In my considered opinion, the South African government under the ANC has taken the most conservative route possible under the Constitution, which could undoubtedly be interpreted to support a much more interventionist approach. The property clause in the Bill of Rights was designed to balance different groups' need for land but has been interpreted by many parties incorrectly, in my view as granting strong protection to current landowners and restricting government's power to intervene.

Black applicants are awarded grants to allow them to enter the land market, but these have been quite limited in value.

Q&A: Land Reform in South Africa | Promised Land | POV | PBS

Many landowners have expressed opposition to selling to land reform beneficiaries as is their right under current policyand when would-be buyers lack sufficient funds to meet the asking price for land, they are simply squeezed out of the market.

No measures are taken against uncooperative landowners, as all transactions are required by policy, not law to be voluntary. Some recent alternative programs include Area Based Land Reform and Proactive Land Acquisition, under which the state will now approach landowners on behalf of would-be buyers, rather than leaving them to fend for themselves in the land market.

These programs may lead to overcoming some of the problems of unequal power relations that have characterized the land market to date, but it is worrying that no measures have been adopted that would increase the availability of land owners still have the freedom not to cooperate or push down prices.

In other words, officials have had no more success than poor landless people in making the land market work to their advantage. What is the government agency that oversees land reform in South Africa?

What kind of resources -- financial and personal -- are available to this agency? Does the agency have enough resources to buy land, process claims and support sellers and buyers?

Land reform is in the hands of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform formerly the Department of Land Affairsand the specific branch within the department dealing with restitution is the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights.

Separate national and provincial departments of agriculture are responsible for agricultural policy and in theory for support services for new and old farmers. Overall, sizable sums have been allocated for land reform, but probably not enough to engage in a successful market-based program.

State agencies have ended up paying high prices for what is often relatively poor land and they frequently exhaust their budgets before year end.

The available budget has to be seen, however, in the light of the market-friendly policies that these departments have adopted. There can be little doubt that a more robust policy of intervention in the market -- e.

Support for land reform beneficiaries after they settle on their new land has been a consistent weak spot in the land reform program, due to under-budgeting but also due to a split in responsibilities between the national Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, formerly the Department of Land Affairs responsible for acquiring landprovincial departments of agriculture responsible for agricultural support services and the inappropriate advice offered to resource-poor farmers i.

As we see in Promised Land, land transfer from a white farmer to a black claimant can sometimes result in the shutting down of the white farmer's successful business which may employ any number of people. In this particular case, a black family that took over the land seemed to lack the skills and possibly the desire to continue the business.

What kind of support is provided to black claimants once they reclaim land? Have there been any examples of white land owners and black claimants collaborating or working together? Lack of capital and skills is a major problem in land reform in South Africa, and it is greatly exacerbated by the lack of support services from state agencies and the lack of effective planning for effective use of the land in question.

There are plenty of examples of white and black farmers working together, but these are a small minority of all cases.south africa - land of many faces As born and bred South Africans, we are in harmony with the land in which we work, live and relax.

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Q&A: Land Reform in South Africa

POV: In , at the end of apartheid, almost 90 percent of the land in South Africa was owned by white South Africans, who make up less than 10 percent of the population. Many may be asking whether South Africa is going down the road of Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe seized white-owned agricultural land and helped destroy the economy.

The short answer is no. For a start, South Africa is a constitutional democracy, not a parliamentary democracy, which means that the constitution limits what parliament can . The court said Parliament had to fix the Land Restitution Bill first before it could start allowing new land claims.

The bill was passed into law in and allowed people who missed a deadline to lodge land claims. South Africa’s government estimates it would require between US$9 billion and US$13 billion to settle new land claims.

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South Africa’s environment faces some major challenges, despite the policies put in place by the various institutions to help curb this problem. Some of these challenges are lack of proper waste management, deforestation, pollution, land or soil degradation, desertification and resource depletion among others.

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