Agrarian reform and communal property associations : an analysis of the functionality of CPA's in Mpumalanga

18 Dec 2020

Communal Property Associations (CPA) are established in terms of the Communal Property Association Act no: 28 of 1996, which was enacted to enable communities to form juristic persons, to be known as CPAs in order to acquire, hold and manage property on a basis agreed to by members of a community in terms of a written constitution; and to provide for matters connected therewith. Communal Property Associations were also established to ensure that such institutions are established and managed in a manner that is nondiscriminatory, equitable and democratic, and that such institutions be accountable to their members. This paper is a desk top analysis of the causes of CPA dysfunctionality in Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. Communal Property Associations are supposed to operate in a fair, inclusive decision-making process. This however seems to be a problem with a majority of CPAs in Mpumalanga due to the fact that committee members refuse to be accountable to CPA members, they fail to convene Annual General Meetings, do not provide audited financial statements and so forth. Even though it is against the law, previously CPAs used to sell land, use it as collateral and pocket all the proceeds without involving other members. Using data on the extensive literature written on Communal Property Associations, using the available data from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, this paper explored the reasons for the failure of Communal Property Associations in Mpumalanga Province. The paper concludes that the reason for the dysfunctionality of CPAs is because of committees that fail to submit financial statements, factionalism and infighting, lack of capacity to support CPAs by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, and corruption and looting happening within CPAs by committees.