South Africa: Land Reform - It's a Package, Not Just Expropriation Without Compensation, Says Presidential Panel

Farmland in the Overberg region of the Western Cape of South Africa

Land expropriation without compensation is a method to acquire land, but not the sum total of land reform or restitution. That's the short and sharp from the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, whose report was released on Sunday 28 July.

Over 144 pages, the report traces a series of innovative interventions on land reform - including a register for all types of land ownership, a land reform fund and voluntary land donations by businesses, farmers and churches - as well as some controversial proposals.

Those contentious issues are not limited to the majority endorsement of expropriation without compensation, but include a review of the Ingonyama Trust, which holds the majority of land in KwaZulu-Natal and is currently before court for turning traditional communal land tenants' rights into leases for the trust's gain.

"Sixty percent of land rights are not recognised, recorded or registered," said panel chairperson Dr Vuyo Mahlati in reference to residents in informal settlements and communal traditional areas, as well as farm dwellers and labour tenants.

That needed to change to effect the required fundamental structural change for social justice and redress as outlined in the Constitution.

"Our country has to face the reality that...

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