South Africa: Land Rights - Apartheid Still Haunts South Africa


In spite of the Constitution's promise, post-apartheid policy and legislation have generally endorsed apartheid legacies of economic and social exclusion, resulting in deep economic inequalities, social discontent, and at times violent manifestations of frustration by community members.

"For to crown all our calamities, South Africa has by law ceased to be the home of any of her native children whose skins are dyed with a pigment that does not conform with the regulation hue."

-- Sol Plaatje, 1916.

After more than 25 years of democracy, South Africa still finds itself haunted by ghosts of the brutal colonial and apartheid legacies. The conflicts of the past manifest not only socially, as we struggle to overcome societal divisions and injustices, but also physically.

Apartheid created fragmented towns and cities that located people far from economic opportunities, without the option to live, work and play in one area. Despite land reform efforts after the 1994 election, including the complex land claims process, apartheid spatial planning still influences where we live and work. According to section 25(5) of the Constitution, the South African government "must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to foster conditions which enable citizens to gain access...

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