South Africa: A Dystopian Look At Private Property Relations and Expropriation Plans in South Africa

opinion

The possibility of expropriation without compensation raises important questions around state-planned land reform in South Africa. What will the state exactly do with the possibility to expropriate land and who is deciding on these issues? In the post-apartheid decades, the ANC's neo-liberal policies formed a wide gap between land reform plans and land reform realities. The policy rhetoric of transformation and redress for past injustices sharply contrasts the experiences and expectations of the majority of South Africans who have been either included in undemocratic ways or excluded from land reform processes altogether.

In a recently published book entitled Land Reform Revisited: democracy, state making and agrarian transformation, emerging scholars reflect on the state of land reform and democracy after 20 years of ANC rule. Detailed case studies from various places in the country, and from Zimbabwe, confirm James Scott's idea that state plans, presumably intended to improve the well-being of humans, rarely work out as anticipated.

People affected by state plans resist and adapt plans to suit their own needs as one-size-fits-all policy models never really "fit" anyone's reality or dream. No wonder indeed that the people who would supposedly be beneficiaries of expropriation, are not jumping...

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