Transforming local economies through land reform : political dilemmas and rural development realities in South Africa.
Dlamini, Siyabonga Innocent.
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The land/agrarian question has always been at the center of South Africa’s struggle for liberation. Land itself has always been a source from which Africans and particularly the rural inhabitants have derived their livelihood. The sustainability of rural livelihoods therefore largely rely on the availability of productive land. As a result, the inability to access land has always been a great challenge to Africans. In response to the issue of landlessness, the South African government adopted a three pillar Land Reform Programme- land redistribution, land restitution, and land tenure reform. This programme has been created to fend off the inequalities in landholding as well as injustices which emanated from forceful removals that took place in previous decades. This thesis therefore examines the progress made in attaining the goals set in the land reform programme. The thesis mainly focusses on the political dilemmas and rural development realities in South Africa in relation to the impact of land reform in different communities. In an attempt to make sense of how land reform impacts on the lives of the people, particularly the rural inhabitants, this thesis seeks to explore how local economies can be transformed through land reform. The thesis therefore holds that it is through the transformation of local economies that the rural poor can live sustainable lives. The strategy here is therefore to use smallholder farming to deal with immediate food insecurity which is the general problem in the rural areas- at the same time, facilitating their access to markets for the smallholder farmers to sell their produce. The thesis concludes by suggesting that the willing buyer-willing seller has been too costly and failed to avail the amount of land that the state needs for the redistribution programme. As a result, the state should expropriate land for redistribution – starting with the under-utilized and the lands that lie fallow.