Les questions foncieres en Afrique du Sud: perspectives et mecanismes de la reforme fonciere, 1994-2004
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South Africa has ambitious intentions regarding its land reform policy. Following the formal end of apartheid, the policy was intended to redress the racial imbalance in landholding, develop the agricultural sector, and improve the livelihoods of the poor. These far reaching objectives were derived from an understanding that land reform has the potential to make a direct impact on poverty through targeted resource transfers and by addressing the economic and social injustices caused by colonial and apartheid dispossession.
However, after almost ten years of policy formation and implementation, land reform has made only limited progress in South Africa. Many of the original objectives have not been met. These included an undertaking in the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) of 1994, which provided a set of guidelines and principles for the evolving land policy, to redistribute thirty percent of agricultural land within five years and to make land reform the driving force of rural development. Having delivered less than two percent of land in the first five years of democratic governance, this target was re-conceptualised in 2001 to redistribute 30 percent of South Africa?s agricultural land over 15 years. However, by September 2003 it appears that land reform was not succeeded in achieving its objectives at the desired rates and critical issues remained unattended. This paper examines such claims in order to provide a critical reflection and overview of the South African land reform since 1994, and to identify major challenges that remain unresolved.