Land reform in Southern Africa : a comparative study between South Africa and Zimbabwe

Mason, Kirsten Zara (2004-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Land has been a revolutionary metaphor for wealth and power in the world. Ideally, land reform in Africa should contribute to social and economic progress and ultimately result in social equity, as well as increased agricultural productivity. This study is devoted to the history of the land ownership in Southern Africa, as well as the meaning and explanation of land reform programmes after the transition to democracy. Moreover, it is dedicated to familiarising the reader with the various meanings and issues concerning land reform, particularly in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The outcome of the study is to promote further discussion on the need and about the revival of land reform programmes in the region of Southern Africa. In this study, South Africa and Zimbabwe are discussed comparatively with regards to three main areas of land reform: restitution, redistribution and tenure reform. The goal of this study is to gauge the possibility of South Africa following in the footsteps of Zimbabwe in terms of land invasions supported by the government. Zimbabwe faces the painful reality that its political revolutions have only brought them halfway to true independence. The objective for Zimbabwe is to establish a functional socialist economy where decision-making would be under political control so as to bring about the drastic redistribution of wealth from whites to blacks. The fulfilment of the rule of law must become the first priority of the Zimbabwean government. If the government continues to belittle the rule of law, corrupt decisions benefiting only those in support of the government, will continually be made. The importance of land in Zimbabwe did not so much arise from the social and economic inequalities, but rather the inability to access land, accompanied by a growing overpopulation, landlessness, land deterioration and escalating poverty in the black areas. This was further paralleled with severe under-utilisation of land in the white farming areas. South Africa, on the other hand, did make space at an earlier stage of transition in their constitution, for organised and methodical land reform to occur. Unfortunately, this process has taken much slower than first predicted, which has led to unrest among the landless, and those who have made claims for the land. South Africa very recently made some decisions to speed up the land reform process through expropriation if negotiations fail. With the Zimbabwean situation, the issue may not so much be about land in itself, but may reflect the need for employment, especially regarding infrastructure and investment in industrialisation within the rural areas. This study concludes that South Africa, although showing many similar signs of a downward spiral, will not follow the route which Zimbabwe has taken. It would appear that the government of South Africa would not allow land invasions by the landless, organised under the banner the 'Landless Peoples Movement (LPM), as was seen in Zimbabwe with the war veterans. The reason for this is that the South African government has made continuous statements that land invasions will not be tolerated in South Africa, and that they will abide by the legislation set out, when it comes to land reform and restitution. The government has the power to enforce the rule of law if land invasions do start to occur. Although the LPM have a similar manifesto and goal as to the war veterans in Zimbabwe, they seem a lot less militant and ready to work with the government and the people to ensure the best for South Africa's land reform process. This study thus looks at land reform issues that face South Africa and Zimbabwe, and fleshes out ideas as to creating a regional procedure for the best method of land reform for implementation by the South African Development Community.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Gesien in die lig dat grond die revolusionêre metafoor van rykdom en mag in die wêreld is, sal dit ideaal wees as grondhervorming tot sosiale en ekonomiese bevordering in Afrika kan bydra en uiteindelik kan lei tot sosiale gelykheid en toename in produktiwiteit in die Landbou-sektor. Hierdie studie is toegewy aan die geskiedenis van grond-eienaarskap in Suider- Afrika, sowel as die betekenis en verduideliking van grondhervormingsprogramme na afloop van die transisie na 'n demokrasie stelsel. Die studie fokus ook daarop om die leser meer in te lig oor die verskeie menings en uitgangspunte rakende grondhervorming in die algemeen, maar meer speisfiek in Suid Afrika en Zimbabwe. Die doel van die studie is om verdere besprekings oor die behoefte en die heroplewing van grondhervormingsprogramme in Suider-Afrika. Suid-Afrika en Zimbabwe word in die studie op drie gronde met mekaar vergelyk: Die teruggawe van grondeiendom, die herverdeling van grondeiendom en die hervorming van besitreg. Die doel van die studie is om te bepaal of Suid-Afrika in die voetspore van Zimbabwe gaan volg. Zimbabwe staar die pynlike realiteit in die oë dat hul politieke revolusies hulle slegs halfpad tot ware onafhanklikheid gebring het. Die doel vir Zimbabwe was om 'n funksionele sosialistiese ekonomiese stelsel daar te stel waar besluitneming onder politieke beheer sou wees om sodanig drastiese herverdeling van rykdom vanaf blankes na swartes, asook onafhanklikheid van kapitaliste, te bewerkstellig. Die belangrikheid van grondbesit het nie werklik in die sosiale en ekonomiese ongelykhede gelê nie, maar in die onvermoë om grond te bekom tesame met 'n toenemende oorbevolkingsyfer, grondloosheid, grondverarming en toenemende armoede in swart gebiede. 'n Bydraende faktor was die groot mate van onderbenutting van grond in blanke boerdery gebiede. Aan die ander kant, het Suid Afrika baie vroeg in die oorgangsfase voorsiening vir 'n georganiseerde en stelselmatige grondhervormingsproses, in die grondwet gemaak. Ongelukkig het die proses baie langer gesloer as wat aanvanklik beplan is. Dit het tot onrustigheid onder die mense wat geen grondeiendom besit het nie en dié wat grondeise ingedien het, gelei. Suid Afrika het onlangs besluite geneem om die proses te bespoedig deur 'n paar belangrike besluite te neem, om die grondhervormings proses, vinniger te maak Dit word gedoen deur ekspropriasie as onderhandelinge onsuksesvol is. Soos in Zimbabwe, mag die werklike probleem nie slegs oor geondbesit gaan nie. Dit reflekteer die behoefte aan werkverskaffing, veral in die infrastruktuur van arm gebiede en die investering industrialisasie. Alhoewel dit lyk asof Suid-Afrika nie suksesvol in die herverdeling van grond is nie, kom die studie tot die slotsom dat die land nie in die spore van Zimbabwe sal volg nie. Dit kom voor asof die Suid-Afrikaanse owerheid nie sal toelaat dat mense sonder grondbesit, grond onregmatig inneem soos in Zimbabwe nie, omdat hulle 'n punt in die media daarvan gemaak het. Die owerheid het die mag om die wet toe te pas in situasies waar grond onregmatig ingeneem word. Alhowel die LPM ("Landless Peoples Movement") 'n soortgelyke manifes en doelstellings as die oorlogveterane van Zimbabwe het, blyk dit nie asof hulle so militaristies is nie en dat hulle gereed is om saam met die owerheid en mense te werk sodat die hervormingsproses in die beste belange van Suid-Afrika plaasvind. Hierdie studie kyk dus na die grondhervormingsproses in Zimbabwe en Suid Afrika en vorm idees rondom die skepping van 'n uniforme proses wat die beste hervormingsmetode is vir die gebruik van die Suid-Afrikaanse Ontwikkelingsgemeenskap.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50005
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