An investigation into land reform, gender and welfare in South Africa

Zhanda, Rudo Melissa (2014-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Women’s rights to property have still not been recognised in many countries as a basic individual right. Furthermore, women have often been excluded in the policies that govern land reform, that is, the economic restructuring programmes and land distribution policies. It is important to understand how women's rights in and access to land are being addressed, and the ways in which institutional reforms have benefited or disadvantaged women, given the importance of women as agricultural producers in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the commitment to gender equality adopted by many governments. The determination of the criteria used to target land beneficiaries for land reform in South Africa is largely unclear and undocumented. Furthermore, there is a limited focus in existing literature on the actual impact of land reform on its beneficiaries. Land reform in South Africa is only benefiting a small proportion of the population. The findings of this research also indicate that there is a conscious attempt by the state to address racial injustices of Apartheid, with the majority of recipients of land in South Africa being African/black, and Coloureds following closely. Furthermore, the beneficiaries of land appear to be largely uneducated and unmarried. The research indicates that women in South Africa have equal, if not more opportunity than men to gain access to land through land reform. However, it does appear that males are heading most of the households with access to land through land reform and women in male-headed households have more access to land through land reform than those in female-headed households. This suggests that unmarried women are still at a disadvantage for accessing land through land reform, which further validates the findings of existing literature that customary practices may still be prevalent in South Africa and women’s primary access to land is through marriage. The findings of the research also indicate that generally people with access to land through land reform are more likely to have better household welfare than those with no access to land through land reform. Therefore, with only 2.5 per cent of the population accessing land, there is a significant limitation on the number of households whose welfare can be improved by land reform. The results also indicate that males without access to land have better household welfare than females without access to land therefore implying that women are more vulnerable without land access and they are more likely to face poverty when they are not afforded the opportunity to access land through land reform. Furthermore, it appears that females with access to land have better household welfare than males with access to land, which implies that females are an essential contributor to household welfare, more so than their male counter parts. Similar to existing literature, these findings further validate the need for the state to address gender inequality in land reform and ensure that women are included in the process. Nevertheless, with the majority of the land beneficiaries in this research being female, household welfare in South Africa is expected to improve in the future due to land reform.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL:
This item appears in the following collections: