Land grabbing over nearly 350 years of South African history saw the loss of key productive resources by indigenous populations and erosion of their rights to land and natural resources. Women’s land rights were severely undermined, especially in areas where land was held and governed within systems informed by custom. Social differences and inequalities based on a complex articulation of race, gender and class identities underpinned the unequal distribution of land and insecure rights to land. Post-apartheid land policies were intended to eliminate these structural inequalities. But in 22 years, land reform has barely altered the agrarian structure of South Africa, and has had only minor impacts on rural livelihoods. Around eight per cent of farmland has been transferred through restitution and redistribution, and 20,000 settled restitution claims have not been implemented. This article looks at the different phases of land reform and asks why have the results of land reform been so poor?
Land Reform-the Solution to Rural Poverty?In: Rural 21 Vol 50