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The land question in South Africa: the challenges of transformation and redistribution

Cherryl Walker, Human Sciences Research Council

Harold Wolpe Memorial Trust Conference

Cape Town, 25 - 27 March 2004

SARPN would like to thank the Wolpe Trust for permission to post this paper, prepared for a panel presentation at a recent Wolpe Trust workshop.
[Download complete paper - 59Kb < 1min (12 pages)]     [ Share with a friend  ]

It is easy, at events like this, to roll out a wish list of what land reform should achieve and who it should target: poverty reduction, justice, food security, rural transformation, economic growth, redress; for: the landless, the poor, women, the dispossessed, and the previously disadvantaged.

We probably all agree that these are worthy objectives and worthy beneficiaries. However, working at this level of high-flying, feel-good generality does not sharpen our understanding of what contribution land reform can actually make towards either improving or transforming the (different) positions of these somewhat different social categories of people, nor what scale of land reform the state can actually as opposed to ideally implement, nor how much weight we should attach to land reform compared to other state programmes (job creation, housing, health, education, welfare, basic services, infrastructure, conservation, etc.), nor what the trade-offs and synergies between these programmes could or should be, nor, if the state is to prioritise, where it should concentrate its land reform efforts.

How important is land reform in South Africa today?

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