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HSRC UNDP Regional Project on HIV and Development SARPN

The impact of HIV/AIDS on land reform in South Africa

Report of a Department of Land Affairs workshop organised in conjunction with the UNDP Regional Project, SARPN and the HSRC

14 & 15 August 2002

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Executive Summary

The Department of Land Affairs (DLA) requested the United Nations Development Programme Regional Project and the Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN), to develop a workshop on mainstreaming HIV/AIDS and development within the Department of Land Affairs. The workshop was mainly attended by participants from various DLA offices, other government departments, and some HIV/AIDS organizations. Officials from the United Nations Development Program Regional Project (hereafter referred to as the UNDP) and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) were invited to participate and lead the discussions of the workshop based on their experience in shaping policy and programmes in the field of HIV/AIDS and development.

The objectives of the workshop were to:
  • Carefully consider the implications of HIV/AIDS (in the context of development) for beneficiaries and employees of DLA.
  • Look at the consequences of DLA's policies and program implementation for HIV/AIDS spread.
The workshop participants noted that the impact of HIV/AIDS on the DLA's mandate and the mainstreaming of the epidemic into DLA's development policy and programmes are major concerns and should therefore be treated with urgency and care they deserve. They also noted that the workshop has granted them the opportunity to give thorough consideration of other issues that might affect the extent and impact of their service delivery onto their beneficiaries.

Participants felt that the workshop did not provide them with solutions to their problems and concerns but instead provided them with tools that would assist them to take the processes such as the review of organizational policies and land reform policies forward. The DLA together with other related sectors, have to act on the knowledge gained.

From the discussions and presentations it was clear that a holistic way of addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic is needed to promote systematic thinking across sectors and disciplines. This focus should not be concentrated on health but also at the impact on social support, finances, housing, land-use and land tenure. After all, individuals (including those living with HIV) are not only employees; they are also a family or community member, a landholder or a house tenant, or a sharecropper etc. Organizations, land, forests and crops are all affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, for example, land may not be tilled and certain crops may not be grown because of the lack of labour, and land may be sold to pay medical fees, funeral costs or everyday household expenses.

It is important to consider the political and historical context as well as the dynamics thereof in any attempt to provide effective mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS and in an effort to maximize the effectiveness of the DLA.

Policies and institutions can play a key role in addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS. Organizations such as the DLA have to build or reform policies and laws so that they provide better opportunities for the poor and to ensure that attention to HIV/AIDS is not confined to health strategies and actions that are informed by policy. Further, to ensure that HIV and AIDS do not undermine DLA's mandate and core business.

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