South Africa's spatial arrangements and Land Reform issues traversed

24 Jan 2017

This theoretical paper seeks to establish a significant contribution in the development perspective by arguing that land reform approach is static and inadequate for socio-economic transformation in South Africa. The slow pace of land reform has restricted and narrowed the opportunities for rural dwellers to yield the benefits of democracy. South Africa has a long history of suffering colonization, racial control and economic land deprivation. As a result, variety of livelihood activities by black people including land ownership has been and still is negatively affected. Consequently, practicing livelihood activities in rural setting remains a riddle which is impelled by the disabling spatial distribution including other socio-economic circumstances that impinge the indigent black society. Notwithstanding historical spatial arrangements, rural natives determinedly engage in a diverse portfolio of livelihood activities in an attempt to improve their quality of life and standard of living through both subsistent and commercial farming. The former is largely marked by indigent unskilled rural farmers who are excluded from the mainstream formal agricultural economy whereas the latter is pigeonholed by rich farmers with a strong financial muscle to efficaciously utilise land and eventually control the agricultural market. However, it becomes questionable whether land reform as a policy is effective in South Africa to reverse the past injustices since the advent of democracy post 1994. Subsequently, the paper concludes that introduction of land reform in South Africa is inefficacious because of its inability to fulfil the promise of addressing central issues mainly; land restitution, tenure and redistribution in South Africa