Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Landless South African Black Movement
Policy issue; Poverty alleviation and Rural Development
Formulated for the Department of Land Affairs South Africa
Written by:

Policy abstract;
The Land question has been avoided and overlooked on its impacts to eradicate poverty and promote rural development, failure of the present land policy has become of the major barriers for rural development and to deal with it is an integral part of African liberation.This LSABM land policy document will give specific solutions on land reform and redistribution policies that will alleviate poverty and encourage rural development .Its accent is on the government to adopt a State Led Model on Land Reform and Redistribution and abandon the Market led model, adequate budget allocation from the government to the Department of Land Affairs and nationalise part of the agricultural land in the bid to enhance the pace of land reform as “will buyer willing seller method” has not yielded any results and engage with the donor community for support for an effective land reform and redistribution that is sustainable to eradicate poverty and inequality for rural development. The recommendation of the policy document is to nationalise 60% of agricultural land Reform programme as a method to return ownership of the land the Black South Africans and to develop the livelihood of masses in the rural areas. Whilst majority of the landless black peasants are unemployed living in abject poverty Land Reform Programme can be an important component to fuel increase in employment, agricultural output as agrarian reform is also enhanced. Land Reform is divided into three parts tenure Reform, Land restitution and land distribution this policy document integrates all the aspects and propounds an effective solution to the implementation of the policy.
LSABM is a civil society organization founded in 1998 that spearheads the interests of landless SA citizens and advocate for better land reform and redistribution policy from the government. The purpose of this organization is to lobby the government to revisit its land reform and redistribution policies for a fair practice that would see the mutual benefit of all South African citizens and to remind the government that Land reform is a quasi-constitutional right. The foundation of the movement is to find methodologies to eradicate poverty and inequality through an effective land reform and redistribution. LSABM advocates for the government to adopt a rigorous State Led model to redistribute land which includes nationalization of the agricultural land as a way of eradicating poverty and addressing the historical legacy of apartheid and invalidate the effects of the 1913 Land Act legislation and several apartheid legislations that hindered ownership and accessibility of land by the majority African population.

The main emphasis of this policy document is to lobby government on the issue of Land Reform and Redistribution in relation to poverty alleviation and inequality in the context of rural development. This has been a controversial topic among intellectuals, politicians and economists on what extent can land reform and redistribution have on poverty alleviation and in addressing inequality in South Africa, the Gini-coefficient of South Africa consistently shows a wide gap of inequality between the rural peasants and urban dwellers. South Africa Kwazulu Natal Region demonstrates such kind of inequalities, in realisation of these adverse effects this policy document will focus on how land reform and land redistribution can eradicate the poverty and improve livelihood of the rural homestead. The legacy of land deprivation of the colonial and apartheid result in the Black population bitterness and the will by the South African govern to return land to the rightful owners it became the sole priority of the Mandela regime soon after attaining independence in 1994.
The Policy document will address the following questions:
 What have been the results and effects of the failure to have an effective land reform and Redistribution in addressing the issues of inequality and poverty in Rural areas of South Africa.
 What can land reform and redistribution do to eradicate these implications?
Land Reform and Redistribution in South Africa;

The historical legacy of the 1913 land act during the colonial era resulted in imbalances and unjustified patterns of land ownership between race. According to Hendricks (2001;290) prohibition of land purchase by Africans outside these reserves was accompanied by a battery of legislative impediments of African urbanization the Land Native Act in 1913 was to ban ownership of land by Africans in urban areas but to be squatters that would provide labour for the white in towns and to minister to their needs. Land redistribution by the government is a major step to rectify the injustices of apartheid, promote national reconciliation, enhance increase in agricultural output and eradicate poverty in the rural households according Hendricks (2001;283) propounds that an effective land Reform must take note of the following 5 elements;
• Gross inequality in the distribution of land between blacks and white

• Focus on the need to distribute land ownership equally

• Land Reform and Redistribution that is centralized on eradicating poverty and economic growth

• Security of tenure

• Concerns in the manner in which land Laws have duplicate or overlap with the remnants of apartheid legislation

Historical imbalances created by rampant legislation by the colonial government left huge imprints of gross inequality in the distribution of land between blacks and whites colonialism took away vast tracts of African land and confined Africans in to reserve areas that were improvised with hunger, overpopulated and lacked sanitation. This has become a national problem as peasantry farming was destroyed driving all the Africans into towns were they can be proletarians living the rural areas undeveloped with lack of human power. According to Freeman (2004;290) these areas were called “Bantu” homelands, Bantustans, self governing territories and even independent states, series of brutal legislative laws were passed by the colonial authorities to divorce Africans their sole of survival and means of production the land Glen Grey Act 1894, Land Native Act 1913 and the Land act 1936. Such actions destroyed the commercialization of the African agriculture and displacement of the masses in the rich agricultural lands which were important for subsistence farming. According to Cousins (2007;223) the South African government had only distributed only 2.9% 10 years after the democratization of South Africa these trends demonstrates the failure of the South African government to address interests of the landless citizens. Policies in Place for Land Reform in South Africa .The present South African Land Reform policy is divided into three main pillars that are:

(a)Land redistribution policy

The present land reform and redistribution policy has failed to address concerns of the landless rural citizens in South Africa with its activities receiving little government attention resulting in the under financing of the programme the Department of Land Affairs has had no or little funds from the budgetary allocation from the Ministry of Finance according to Cousins (2007;223) the Department of Land Affairs for no reason apparent received only 0,5% of the national budget . The present policy according to DA land of opportunity Policy document ( has increasingly come to focus on agrarian reform leaving the needs of the landless African citizens commercial agriculture has received a lot of support from the government than small scale farming this has created a barrier to new resettled farmer. According to The government ever since 1994 has implemented the land restitution to return ownership of land the majority affected from 1913 to 1994, land redistribution which was to reallocate 30% of the commercial land to the black population by the year 1999 and tenure reform to provide security workers and population that reside in commercial lands. But no meaningful change has occurred and claims of land restitution remain unattended Land reform statistics only 5000 land restitution claims have been attended to out of the 63500 that were forwarded to the government. Cousins (2007;223) elaborates land reform is an significant element to diminish poverty and guarantee equal opportunities of economic empowerment of the masses. To this date only one percent of agricultural land according to has been redistributed to the black majority leaving a wide gap of disparities in the ownership of land 87% is still owned by the whites and the remaining 13 by black people.

(b)Land Restitution policy

Since 1994 the government has implemented Land Restitution policy to address the concerns of those that were ‘deprived land on racial grounds since 1913. Land Restitution was implemented to return property according to to individuals or communities that were forcibly made to give up their land as a result of the apartheid legislation compensated in monetary terms or in the actual return of the land that was taken by force. But the ramifications of this policy did not yield the expected outcome form the landless South African black communities and individuals as according by the end of 2000 36489 claims had been addressed out of the 85000 that were handed over to the Department of Land Affairs and the total compensation totalled to R1.2billion in monetary terms. By 2002 the government had only managed to acquire 571 232 hectares to resettle the rural population which was R442 million to total monetary value. 2005 was the set date to finish all land claims by the government but they have changed the date to 2015. This failure of the government, to address the Land Restitution claims is furthering poverty and unemployment in rural KwaZulu Natal region.
(c)Tenure reform policy

The tenure reform policy was implemented to protect the rights of farm workers according to Cousins (2007;224) this legislation have only been successful in avoiding evictions of workers from farms but to a lesser extent has helped in redistributing land to the SA citizens as it is their quasi-constitutional right. Land Reform programme must address the historical violent and brutal land dispossession to enhance equitable distribution of ownership as fundamental basis for reconciliation and promote rural sustainability and development.

• Communal Lands Act of 2004 according to Cousins (2007;224) this policy was passed to address the legal insecurity of people’s land rights in communal lands for people to have developmental and selling of the communal land rights. Although the policy addressed the insecurity that existed of land rights continual confusion on the traditional leader’s authority and control over land is still being noticed.

• Land Reform Act 3 of 1996: as the website stipulates “ it enacted to protect the rights of the workers that resided in commercial lands from arbitrary eviction and ensure that conditionalities are present for working conditions and health.”

• Tenure Act 62 of 1997: provided security to land dwellers in commercial lands with rights to reside on land with access to education; health facilities and act also protected the African peasants who lived in the agricultural land to rights form unlawful evictions without a court order.

• Prevention of Illegal Occupation of Land Act of 1998: The act provided procedures to follow in evicting illegal occupants of land and prohibit unlawful occupation of lands.
The purpose land redistribution- is to make all productivity land to be equally distributed to the majority of South African citizens through government financing and support in the bid to improve livelihoods. The purpose of restitution – the fundamental reason for restitution is to return land rights to the majority that were deprived by the brutal legislation of the colonial government from 1913 to 1994. The tenure reform policy- government efforts to secure the tenure of all citizens

Successes and failures of the present policies of land reform and redistribution:

According to the website in the year 2008 5.8 billion hectares had been allocated to the majority through land redistribution and restitution which is about 5% of the commercial land the figures have not changed up to now. 90% of the claims for land restitution have been solved by the government with most in urban areas whilst the rural areas claims remain unsolved. But this has not been enough to achieve the government goal to redistribute and resettle 30% of the agricultural land to the black majority by 2009 which has been shifted to 2014 as the government is failing to achieve such expectations due to lack of commitment, difficult make the willing buyer willing seller policy fall on their favour and mostly to the lack of funding of the DLA. According to South African Catholic Bishops Parliamentary Liaison office's%20Land%20Reform%20Programme%20- %20Progress%20and%20Problems%20June%202010.pdf the objective to transfer 30% of the land to the majority which is approximately 82million hectares has not been realized, the National Department of Agriculture’s Land and Agrarian Reform Programme (LARP) document has recommended this goal to be shifted from 2014 to 2025. In 2009 about 6.9% had been transferred to only 1.78 million beneficiaries which are about 5.67 million hectares. Of the 90% beneficiaries the government has managed to redistribute land have not managed to farm productivity on the land which is the major problem with current policies as they do not fully ascertain the how land reform and redistribution can have on employment opportunities for rural peasants and address the inequality that exists. This failure of the market based model to redistribute land to the landless South Africans calls for much State led land redistribution policy
Possible solutions to the Land Reform and distribution policy:

(1).Accessibility of land to the majority through Nationalisation of agricultural land- accessibility of land to the majority must be supported by legislative acts formulated by the government in context to promote rural development and sustainability through an efficient land reform plan. Accessibility of agricultural land through nationalisation of the 60% may promote agrarian reform in South Africa and have a secure food security. This state led model ensures effective distribution of land to the ,majority of the population according to IPF research document its successes can noted in Republic of Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Countries, such as Bolivia, Chile, Cuba and Mexico have adopted the state led model for redistributing land this led agrarian reform that resulted in a sound boom in their agricultural sector.

The failure to implement such a policy of the government to provide land accessibility will result in profound effects as most interest groups are now advocating for a violate land reform hence land invasion will be invertible in future as the mainstream of the black inhabitants are still deprived of the ownership of land. These profound effects can result in the unplanned and distractive land reform in South Africa destroying agricultural sector and the economy. Zimbabwe’s land reform demonstrates the results of such policy implementation the same failure can to lead South Africa into economic meltdown and food security turmoil.
Effects of such a policy: Results in such a policy will lead to the government to failure to address every land concern of every citizen and this may take a lot of years to achieve as the monetary value of such a process maybe too costly for the government to implement. Commercial farming which is mainly dominated by white Boers will crumble leading to disinvestment in the agricultural sector compromising food security of South Africa however land reform programme can lead to poverty eradication in the rural household and improve sustainability.

2. Land invasion as possible land reform and redistribution policy; Fast Track Land Reform

Neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe embarked on a rigorous land reform and land redistribution programmed aimed to address historical imbalances and inequality that was caused by the dispossession of land in the colonial era. This end result was the emancipation of the Black majority resulting in the Black Tobacco farmer’s tobacco produce in the last season to contribute drastically to the GDP of the crumbling country. In Taiwan the same state led model to redistribute land was implemented and resulted in an agrarian revolution that helped the country to eradicate hunger and poverty in the rural households.

Effects of such a policy will result in economic meltdown and rampant national crises as there is a major decrease in agricultural output resulting in food security begin compromised however such kind of policy implementation can be fastest to address the historical imbalances of land dispossession it can lead to massive practice racist brutal actions against white farmers as the invasions are not even government controlled and law enforcement in these situations is not possible. Land invasion goes against the most important elements of securing land rights as it a rampant action no legal rights of land ownership are passed to the beneficiaries.

(3) Land Reform and Redistribution as a pro-poor policy
To allow market forces to the sole mechanisms to redistribute land to the majority of landless South Africans is initially the current policy that the government pursue where no force is implied to the seller or the buyer. Through this policy land reform and redistribution is implemented as way of eradicating poverty and addressing inequalities that were caused by the historical imbalances. The policy would advocate to the minority of the land owners to give up part of the land to the government under a speculated monetary value. According to critics of the government land Reform have denounced the slow pace of it and are ascertaining the land question becoming politically explosive like the Zimbabwe scenario, they have regarded the willing buyer willing seller method of redistributing land as costly to the government and how the process is unjust as the land was forcibly taken away from the Black population. So this policy will be gazetted under the regulations of promoting transfer of ownership to the majority of the population under a speculated value agreed per each hectare attained from the present ownership.

The effects of such action will be disastrous as it indirectly force the present commercial farmers to surrender their land without the regulation of market forces, this will led to de-investment in the agricultural sector as security of ownership of land is compromised which in turn affects the agricultural output. However implementation of such a policy will result in a land reform and distribution programme that eradicate poverty and address the historical legacies that exist of land ownership as land in the major source of the means of production.

Of the three possible solutions listed above nationalisation of the 60% of the agricultural land is the official position of LSABM as nationalisation will speed up the process which will result in the government addressing poverty and issues of rural development in a much anticipated way by the SA citizens. Land invasion will result in the crumbling of the agricultural sector as well as chaos in determination of land rights and ownership however this kind of a policy will speed the land Redistribution at very faster pace than the market led model land reform policy. The land reform policy as a pro-poor policy may foster rural development as land redistribution will be the centre role of eradicating poverty but the dangers of such policy is its uncertainty to increase food security and enhance agrarian reform in South Africa. Nationalisation of 60% of the agricultural land as the official position of LSABM will ensure that 40% of the agricultural land will remain productive even if the policy failures and would ensure white farmers disseminate farming knowledge to the newly resettled farmers than removing all the white farmers from agricultural activity.
Proposals for implementing the recommendation;
Assessment studies;

Conducting a situation analysis of the impact land reform programme on poverty and inequality to enhance rural development; Implementation of land reform and redistribution policy requires rigorous research and manpower a clear analysis of the benefits and disadvantages of such a policy need careful planning and evaluation. The impact of land Reform should not be analysed only as beneficial to address the inequality of land ownership between races can have detrimental effects to the economy as the agricultural sector contributes significantly the GDP of South Africa.

Make landless rural peasants statistics available to all planners; Statistics of rural landless peasant in the current policy is not that clear the gazetting of accurate figures of Black landless peasants can result in businesses, government and different stakeholders plan an effective land Reform policy
Involve key stakeholders in planning and research Policy; involvement of different actors in planning and research as land Reform should not be left only to the government but all organisations mainly civil Society and businesses should contribute to the policy formulation as they are the ones that results in people centred development.

 Rural Development: Integrate poverty alleviation and inequality at policy level.
If land reform can eradicate the poverty and address accessibility of land to the majority and ownership disparities in South Africa, Land and Distribution policy should integrate issues of poverty and inequality for the benefit of rural development at policy level and must form the most integral part of the policy.

Engage with donor community to support land reform and redistribution;
As the government is facing major difficulties in the financing of its fiscal activities the government must gather donor support internationally to support the policy whether in providing capital assistance and technical assistance. And promote participatory development in rural setting were land will be the main source of fuelling agricultural productivity.


Strategic evaluation and close analysis of the present Land Reform and Redistribution policies must be taken into consideration Land Reform and Redistribution process which does address the issues of poverty, inequality and rural development are detrimental to landless SA citizens as gross inequalities of land caused by the historical legacy of apartheid and colonialism are still rampant. Appropriate action must be taken and implement a sound policy before land reform before the masses rise against the malfunction of the government to resolve the land questions posed by the landless South Africans.


Cousins,B “Agrarian Reform and the “Two economies : Transformation South Africa’ Country side” In Hall, R and Ntsebeza, L.(eds) The Land Question in South Africa: the Challenge. Cape Town;HSRC Press, 2007
Freeman L.2005 South Africa’s Zimbabwe Policy; Unravelling the Contradictions; Journal of Contemporary African Studies South Africa
Hendricks,F (2001) “Land Policies and Democracy” in Coetzee, J et al (eds) Development; Theory,Policy and Practice ,Oxford Univesity Press;Oxford pp289-301
Hendricks,F (2001) “ The Land Question” in Coetzee, J et al (eds) Development; Theory,Policy and Practice ,Oxford Univesity Press;Oxford pp283-286
Internet Sources
Land Reform Overdue in South Africa by Danielle Owen This article was distributed by the InterPress Third World News Agency (IPS) and the Grassroots Media Network.
Land Reform
Land reform in post-apartheid South Africa – a disappointing harvest by Ben Cousins REDISTRIBUTIVE LAND REFORM IN SOUTHERN AFRICA
Martin Adams and John Howell The Unresolved Land Reform Debate:Beyond State-Led or Market-Led Models By Saturnino M. Borras Jr. and Terry McKinley Policy International Poverty Centre Nov/2006 no. 2 research brief
The Politics of Land Reform in Southern Africa Edward Lahiff
South Africa’s Land Reform Programme: Progress and Problems's%20Land%20Reform%20Programme%20-%20Progress%20and%20Problems%20June%202010.pdf