A comparative study of black rural women's tenure security in South Africa and Namibia

Kamkuemah, Anna Ndaadhomagano (2012-12)

Thesis (LLM)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Includes bibliography

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African land question presents complex legal and social challenges. The legal aspects of land are inextricably linked to other socio-economic aspects, such as access to housing, healthcare, water and social security. The Constitution provides for land reform in the property clause - section 25. This clause, while seeking to redress the colonial land dispossessions, by means of a tripartite land reform programme, also protects the property rights of all. The different legs of the land reform programme are redistribution, which is aimed at enabling citizens to access land on an equitable basis; restitution, which sets out to restore property rights or grant equitable redress to those dispossessed of land as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices and finally tenure reform. Tenure reform is premised on transforming the landholding system of those with legally insecure tenure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices or granting comparable redress. The primary focus of this thesis is on tenure security for black rural women in South Africa, while using the Namibian experience with regard of the same group as a comparison. Historically, before colonialism, landholding was governed by the customary law of the various tribes in South Africa. This landholding system underwent extensive change through the colonial era that ultimately led to a fragmented and disproportionate distribution of land based on race, with insecure land rights particularly in rural areas, where women are the majority. With the dawn of the Constitutional era, South Africa embarked upon a social justice project, based on a supreme Constitution, embodying human dignity, equality, non-racialism, accountability and the rule of law. Land reform forms part of the social project and is governed by the Constitution and influenced by both the civil and customary law. With the South African tenure context, policy documents, legislation and case law will be analysed. In this process the role of the stakeholders and other related factors, for example customary practices are also considered. The analysis indicates that case law has played a significant part in addressing women’s plight with regard to equality, tenure reform and abolishing suppressive legislative provisions and practices. It is furthermore clear that the different categories of women are affected differently by the overarching tenure and other related measures. For a legal comparative study, Namibia was chosen for the following reasons: (a) both South Africa and Namibia have a shared colonial and apartheid background; (b) both countries have a Constitutional foundation incorporating human rights and equality; and (c) both countries have embarked on land reform programmes. However, contrary to the South African position, both the Namibian Constitution and its National Land Policy are more gender-specific. Tenure reform is an on-going process in Namibia in terms of which specific categories of women have benefitted lately. To that end the gender inclined approach may be of specific value for the South African situation, in general, but in particular concerning black rural women. Consequently, particular recommendations, linked to the specific categories of women, are finally provided for the South African position, in light of the Namibian experience.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse grondkwessie beliggaam ingewikkelde regs- en sosiale uitdagings. Die regsaspekte wat verband hou met grond is ook onlosmaaklik gekoppel aan sosio-ekonomiese kwessies, soos byvoorbeeld toegang to behuising, gesondheidsdienste, water en sosiale sekuriteit. Die Grondwet maak vir grondhervorming in die eiendomsklousule, artikel 25, voorsiening. Die eiendomsklousule beoog om koloniale grondontnemings (deur ‘n drie-ledige oorhoofse grondhervormingsprogram) aan te spreek en terselfdertyd eiendomsregte te beskerm. Die oorhoofse grondhervormingsprogram bestaan uit herverdeling, waarmee billike toegang tot grond vir alle burgers bewerkstellig word; restitusie, waarvolgens herstel (of ander billike vergoeding) vir persone en gemeenskappe wat grond en regte as gevolg van rasdiskriminerende maatreëls verloor het, bewerkstellig word en laastens grondbeheerhervorming. Grondbeheerhervorming behels die aanpas of opgradeer van grondbeheervorme (of die betaal van billike vergoeding) in gevalle waar regte onseker (of swak) is weens rasdiskriminerende maatreëls en praktyke van die verlede. Die hooffokus van die tesis is op die regsekerheid (al dan nie) van grondbeheer van swart landelike vrouens in Suid- Afrika, met die Namibiese ervaring as regsvergelykende komponent. Histories, voordat kolonialisme ingetree het, was grondbeheer deur die tradisionele inheemse reg van die verskillende gemeenskappe in Suid-Afrika gereguleer. Hierdie grondbeheersisteme het grootskaalse verandering gedurende die koloniale tydperk ondergaan. Dit het eindelik tot ‘n rasgebaseerde, gefragmenteerde sisteem gelei waarvan die verdeling van grond disproporsioneel was en die grondbeheervorme regsonseker, veral in die landelike gebiede waar vrouens die meerderheid van die bevolking uitmaak. Toe die grondwetlike era in Suid-Afrika aanbreek, is daar met ‘n sosiale geregtigheidprojek (heropbou en ontwikkeling) begin. Hierdie benadering is op die Grondwet gefundeer waarin menswaardigheid, gelykheid, nie-rassigheid, rekenskap en regsorde beliggaam is. Grondhervorming vorm deel van die oorhoofse projek en word deur die Grondwet bestuur en deur beide die nasionale en die Inheems reg beïnvloed. Met betrekking tot die Suid-Afrikaanse grondbeheeristeem word beleidsdokumente, wetgewing en regspraak geanaliseer. In hierdie proses word die rol van belanghebbendes en ander verwante aspekte, soos byvoorbeeld Inheemse partyke, ook oorweeg. Die analise dui aan dat dit veral ontwikkelings in regspraak is wat ‘n groot bydrae gelewer het om vrouens se stryd om gelykheid en sekerheid van grondbeheer te bevorder en wat gelei het tot die afskaffing van onderdrukkende wetgewende maatreëls en praktyke. Dit is verder ook duidelik dat verskillende kategorieë van vrouens verskillend deur die oorhoofse grondbeheer- en ander verwante maatreëls, geaffekteer word. Namibië is vir die regsvergelykende analise geïdentifiseer omdat (a) beide Suid- Afrika en Namibië ‘n koloniale en apartheidsgeskiedenis deel; (b) beide jurisdiksies ‘n grondwetlike basis het waarin menseregte en gelykheid beliggaam word; en (c) beide lande grondhervormingsprogramme van stapel gestuur het. In teenstelling met die Suid-Afrikaanse benadering, is die Namibiese Grondwet en die nasionale grondbeleid egter meer geslag-spesifiek. Grondbeheerhervorming in Namibië is ‘n aaneenlopende proses waaruit veral sekere kategorieë vrouens onlangs voordeel getrek het. Om daardie rede mag die geslag-spesifke benadering wat in Namibië gevolg word vir Suid-Afrika ook van waarde wees, nie net in die algemeen by grondbeheer nie, maar spesifiek ook met betrekking tot swart landelike vroue. In die lig van die Namibiese ervaring word daar ten slotte spesifieke aanbevelings tot die Suid-Afrikaanse sisteem, gekoppel aan bepaalde kategorieë van vroue, gemaak.

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