A golden midway for a divided society? : the South African land reform project and its relationship with the rule of law and transformation

Gerber, Johannes Abraham (2004-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South Africa's history led to an unequal distribution in land ownership, which is not conducive to democratic consolidation. Land refortn is the means to address this problem. However, land reform, part of the larger process of transformation, is a potentially dangerous process: it can have negative implications on the rule of law. The objective of this study is to provide an analysis of the dynamic relationship between land reform, the rule of law and transformation in South Africa, within the debate on democratic consolidation. One can distinguish two paradigms regarding democracy: the liberal paradigm and the liberationist paradigm. These two paradigms have divergent views on the way land reform and transformation should be implemented, and what the goal of these two processes is. The liberal paradigm would seem to be more favourable for democratic consolidation, while the liberationist paradigm is a breeding ground for populist transformation. Furthermore, the negotiated constitutional settlement has left land reform with an ambiguity. On the one hand the constitution forces the govemment to address land reform, but on the other hand it firmly entrenches the private property rights by enforcing the 'willing buyer, willing seller' principle, which makes the process more costly and time consuming. The main hypothesis of this study is: Demographic indicators (race, party affiliation and provincial setting) influence support or rejection of the land reform policies of the South African govemment. Tbe dependent variable is 'support or rejection of the government's land reform policies'. Support for the govemment's land reform policies is indicative of the liberal paradigm and rejection of the govemment's policies is indicative of the liberationist paradigm. It is found that the majority of South Africans reject the govemment's land reform policies. However, strong divisions are evident. Respondents differ along racial, party affiliation and provincial lines. Thus, the liberationist paradigm dominates, but the liberal paradigm has a strong presence, creating an ideologically divided society. This means that the legitimacy of South Africa's land reform project, as well as the legitimacy of the constitution, is under stress. This does not bode well for democratic consolidation, as the rule of law is under severe threat. Thus, one can conclude that land reform is not going to make a positive contribution to the consolidation of South Africa's democracy, if a substantial financial injection is not found to increase the efficiency of the process.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrika se geskiedenis het aanleiding gegee tot 'n ongelyke verspreiding van grondeienaarskap. Dit is nie gunstig vir demokratiese konsolidasie nie. Grondhervorming IS die mamer waarmee die probleem aangespreek kan word. Grondhervorming, deel van die groter proses van transformasie, is egter 'n potensieel gevaarlike proses: dit kan negatiewe implikasies vir regsoewereiniteit hê. Die doel van hierdie tesis is om 'n analise van die dinamiese wisselwerking tussen grondhervorming, regsoewereiniteit en transformasie te verskaf, binne die debat oor demokratiese konsolidasie. Daar kan aangaande demokrasie tussen twee paradigmas onderskei word: die liberale paradigma en die bevrydings (liberationist) paradigma. Hierdie twee paradigmas het teenstrydige perspektiewe oor die manier waarop grondhervorming, sowel as transformasie, geïmplementeer behoort te word, sowel as wat die doel van hierdie twee prosesse is. Die liberale paradigma is meer geskik vir demokratiese konsolidasie, terwyl die bevrydings paradigma 'n teelaarde vir populistiese transformasie is. Verder het die onderhandelde grondwetlike skikking grondhervorming in 'n teenstrydigheid geplaas. Aan die een kant vereis die grondwet dat die regering grondhervorming moet aanspreek, maar aan die anderkant bied dit 'n ferm onderskraging van private eiedomsreg deur op die 'gewillige koper, gewillige verkoper' beginsel aan te dring. Dit maak die grondhervormings proses langer en duurder. Die hoof hipotese van die studie is: Demografiese indikatore (ras, partyaffiliasie en provinsie) beïnvloed ondersteuning of verwerpmg van die regering se grondhervormingsbeleid. Die afhanklike veranderlike IS 'ondersteuning of verwerping van die regering se grondhervormingsbeleid '. Ondersteuning van die regering se grondhervormingsbeleid dui op die liberale paradigma, en die verwerping daarvan dui op die bevrydings paradigma. Daar word bevind dat die meerderheid Suid-Afrikaners die regenng se Respondente verskil volgens ras, partyaffiliasie en provinsie. Dus, die bevrydings paradigma domineer, maar die liberale paradigma het ook 'n sterk teenwoordigheid. Dit sorg vir 'n ideologies verdeelde samelewing. Dit beteken dat die legitimiteit van Suid-Afrika se grondhervormings projek, sowel as die legitimiteit van die grondwet, in gedrang is. Dit is nie 'n goeie teken vir demokratiese konsolidasie nie, aangesien dit regsoewereiniteit in die gedrang bring. Daarom kan daar tot die gevolg gekom word dat grondhervorming nie 'n positiewe bydrae ten opsigte van die konsolidasie van Suid-Afrikaanse demokrasie sal maak nie, tensy daar 'n beduidende finansiële inspuiting gevind kan word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49821
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