South African Land Reform: Case-Studies in ‘Demand’ and ‘Participation’ in the Free State

This paper analyses recent developments in the redistribution and restitution of land in the Free State, South Africa, both at the ‘macro’-level of institutional changes at provincial level and at the ‘micro’-level of the circumstances of individual applicants for land, and reflects on the implications of these developments for a broader understanding of the process of ‘demand-led’ land reform. A series of case studies is presented, relating to the allocation of State-owned land, State-facilitated ‘market’ access to privately owned land, the reconstruction and partial privatization of a parastatal development agency, and land restitution to people dispossessed under apartheid. Several contradictions of the process of land redistribution are analysed: for example, the massive financial costs, direct and indirect, of bringing projects to fruition in the short term, without resolution of the need for long-term support; the divergence between nominal and actual beneficiaries; political and institutional conflicts, both inside and outside the State; and routine incompatibility between the diverse aspirations of beneficiaries and the ‘business plans’ required by bureaucrats and suppliers of credit. Notes, ref., sum.

Title: South African Land Reform: Case-Studies in ‘Demand’ and ‘Participation’ in the Free State
Author: Murray, Colin
Year: 1997
Periodical: African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Volume: 96
Issue: 383
Period: April
Pages: 187-214
Language: English
Geographic term: South Africa
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/723858
Abstract: This paper analyses recent developments in the redistribution and restitution of land in the Free State, South Africa, both at the ‘macro’-level of institutional changes at provincial level and at the ‘micro’-level of the circumstances of individual applicants for land, and reflects on the implications of these developments for a broader understanding of the process of ‘demand-led’ land reform. A series of case studies is presented, relating to the allocation of State-owned land, State-facilitated ‘market’ access to privately owned land, the reconstruction and partial privatization of a parastatal development agency, and land restitution to people dispossessed under apartheid. Several contradictions of the process of land redistribution are analysed: for example, the massive financial costs, direct and indirect, of bringing projects to fruition in the short term, without resolution of the need for long-term support; the divergence between nominal and actual beneficiaries; political and institutional conflicts, both inside and outside the State; and routine incompatibility between the diverse aspirations of beneficiaries and the ‘business plans’ required by bureaucrats and suppliers of credit. Notes, ref., sum.