South Africa: Land Reform Report Is a Flawed Document


The President's Advisory Panel on Land Reform's report is big on suggestions but short on actual progress.

In 2018 amid the furore about land expropriation without compensation, President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land which included many skilled and talented individuals. Sadly, it was given an overambitious brief and far too little time and resources to do justice to its mandate. The outcome is bristling with interesting suggestions, but is also a patchy, sometimes contradictory document which is far from a blueprint for progress.

A central weakness in the report is its failure to locate its recommendations within the current fiscal crisis, which will place severe limits on state expenditure in the foreseeable future. It recognises the severe capacity constraints and pervasive corruption within the state but makes recommendations rooted in the idea that the state will be able to fund, initiate and oversee complex legislation as well as a host of new agencies and other initiatives. Long lists of desired outcomes are provided without clear priorities. With two decades of administrative failures and scores of failed projects behind us, the question is: what real progress can be made on what specific fronts?

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