South Africa: New Law Will Speed Up Land Restitution

By Nevin, Tom | African Business, February 2004 | Go to article overview

South Africa: New Law Will Speed Up Land Restitution


Nevin, Tom, African Business


The South African government, faced with a frustratingly slow process of land restitution to blacks forced off their properties during the apartheid era, can now legally seize land for redistribution. Tom Nevin assesses the implications.

**********

The prospect of forcible land seizure in South Africa has moved a step closer with the government now legally able to appropriate private property to appease at least some of the thousands of land claims still outstanding since the nation's democratic elections a decade ago.

The new government had set itself a deadline of 2005, but as South Africa enters its tenth year of freedom from apartheid that is a distant, seemingly unachievable goal. An amendment to the Land Restitution Act of 1994, which will allow for land expropriation, was passed in parliament and signed into law by President Mbeki last month.

The administration's exasperation at the slow pace of land restitution was voiced by the chief land claims commissioner, Tozi Gwanya: "If landowners would co-operate there would be no need to go to expropriation action," he says, "but you can't negotiate forever."

Gwanya refers to "some farmers" who are delaying the process of land reform by refusing to cooperate in the sale of their land for restitution, but insists that the new power of expropriation will not be used "willy-nilly". It will be applied in a very few cases, he says. "If we were to use expropriation, it would be for about 5% of the remaining claims. Our view is that we would use appropriation as a last resort when negotiations are not yielding results."

As things stand today, the land claims commission has spent R2.7bn on restitution, settled around 45,000 claims and transferred nearly a million hectares of land to claimants. Some 27,000 claims have yet to be resolved.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

COLLISION COURSE

The new law immediately set the mainly white members of the farmers' union, Agri-SA, on a collision course with the government.

"It's absolutely ridiculous," stormed the union's vice-president, Lourie Bosman. "In very few cases it has happened that people are slowing down the process."

Insisting that the process sends a wrong signal to overseas property investors, Bosman pointed to the chaotic results of similar acts by President Robert Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe.

"This is very difficult to understand," he says. "We have a good working relationship with the government, the agricultural sector plan is in place--coming up with this sort of thing is not in line with what we're doing at the moment. This will be more likely to slow things down than speed them up because land owners could take the matter to court under the administrative justice act."

National organiser for the Landless Peoples Movement of South Africa, Mangaliso Kubheka, says his association has been calling for expropriation for years. "Unused and underutilised land must be appropriated," he maintains. It's not right that land can be kept as a commodity while people don't have land."

Given the restoration programme's history, the government's impatience with the way the process is being played out, and the need for some pretty drastic action, is understandable.

From 1994 to 1998, restitution proceeded at an extremely slow pace, and proved to be a difficult process for communities. By mid-1998, just 28 claims had been resolved out of a total of 42,000 submitted. In April 1998, a crisis meeting was called by the National Land Committee (NLC) to establish a review to investigate the problems and weaknesses of the land restitution process.

The reviews findings were disturbing. It identified as the main culprits: A slow rate of delivery, lack of trust and high levels of frustration with the process.

Key problems included the legal and institutional design of restitution which created unnecessary delays and which frustrated progress, including a lack of clarity on the respective roles of the Land Claims Commission and the Department of Land Affairs; a failure to prioritise different types of land claims and problems with the leadership of the process, especially within the Land Claims Commission. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

South Africa: New Law Will Speed Up Land Restitution
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.