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Women rights and land reform in South Africa: a case study of KwaZulu-Natal province.

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Post-Apartheid South Africa has been confronted by land conflict and hunger, which are founded on the history of land dispossession during apartheid. Thus, land reform has occupied public discourse in the new South Africa since 1994. Land resource plays significant roles in both agrarian and industrial societies, but the slow pace in South African land reform agenda has created policy gaps and renewed agitations against land inequality in the country. Evidently, lack of effective land management and gender construction in the allocation of land allocations has deepened the land inequality. This has hindered women capacity building, engendered land unproductivity and aggravated poverty in South African households. The study examines the South African land reform and legal framework on women land rights, explores the place of women rights in the land reform scheme, and explores the factors that constitute impediments to women’s land ownership and use, and reconciles women’s land rights (access and ownership) with the realities of land reform in post-apartheid South Africa, particularly that of KwaZulu-Natal Province.The research utilizes liberal feminist theory and capability approach for locating women land rights in context. Based on unstructured interviews and focus group study, the research found compelling evidence of gender discrimination in the land sector in KwaZulu-Natal Province. Furthermore, gender inequalities, in terms of land ownership and rights, have jeopardized attempts at land and agricultural productivity as well curtailing women’s capacity building. Women discrimination is more prevalent in the rural areas due to the sustained patriarchal nature of rural communities in comparison to the cities. In conclusion, despite the legal framework promoting property rights in the country, cases of infringements of the rights continue in rural KwaZulu-Natal.Thus, the government have a responsibility to enforce women’s land right and implement effective land reform in the country.


Master of Social Science in Political Science. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg,2019.