Multimillion rand grant for land use and needs assessment study

Government wants rural land users to adopt fit-for-purpose land use practices. This requires, for example, that the best farmland be used - with care - for crop and livestock farming into the distant future. A recent law, the Spatial Planning Land Use Management Act (2015), sets out the rules for ideal land uses. How many rural land users are following the prescripts of this law? Policymakers find it hard to answer this question without accurate knowledge about actual land uses in rural municipalities. Policy-relevant evidence is needed to fill this information gap.

HSRC researchers have been contracted to build the tools for better knowledge about localised land uses and needs. The project has a budget of almost R4 million. Funds are from the Belgian aid agency, better known as Belgian Technical Cooperation Committee (BTCC).

Research activities kicked-off with planning meetings around mid-November 2016. These meetings brought the full team, including land tenure experts from two South African universities, into face-to-face discussions to fine-tune the goals, scope and scale of this assignment.

These gatherings have proved fruitful to foster a common approach and method to implement this multimillion rand study.

Testing the land use and needs assessment tool in a sample of 10 district municipalities, spread over 5 provinces, will help to demonstrate its usefulness and improve the tool before applying it in other municipalities.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) can use the results for better land administration and spatial planning. District Land Reform Committees (DLRCs) are new land allocation structures that heavily rely on this information to fulfil their core mandate. To fully exploit this tool, members of DLRCs will need customised training in its use. Offering them this training forms a major part of this project which is expected to conclude in July 2017.

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