Land reform in South Africa : an analysis of the land claim process
Our land is a precious resource. We build our homes on it; it feeds us; it sustains animal and plant life and stores our water. Land does not only form the basis of our wealth, but also of our security, pride and history. Land, its ownership and use, has always played an important role in shaping the political, economic and social processes in the country. Past land policies were a major cause of insecurity, landlessness, homelessness and poverty in South Africa. They also resulted in inefficient urban and rural land use patterns and a fragmented system of land administration. This has severely restricted effective resource utilisation and development. As a cornerstone for reconstruction and development, a land policy for the country needs to deal effectively with the injustices of racially based land dispossession of the past. Land policy should ensure accessible means of recording and registering rights in property, establish broad norms and guidelines for land use planning, effectively manage public land and develop a responsive, client-friendly land administration service. The success of these elements of the program is dependent in the long run on more than merely access to land. The provision of support services, infrastructural and other development programs is essential to improve the quality of life and the employment opportunities resulting from land reform. Our vision is of a land policy and land reform program that contributes to reconciliation, stability, growth and development in an equitable and sustainable way. It presumes an active land market supported by an effective and accessible institutional framework. In an urban context our vision is one where the poor have secure access to well-located land for the provision of shelter. The land reform program focus is aimed at achieving a better quality of life for the most disadvantaged.