Land reform in Namaqualand: Poverty alleviation, stepping stones and economic units
Rohde, R. F
Benjaminsen, T. A
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This paper examines the consequences of land reform for communal livestock farmers in Namaqualand. It investigates the likely outcomes of recent commonage acquisitions and tenure reform in the former ëColoured Reservesí using case study material drawn from the Leliefontein communal area. In particular, we try to answer two questions about land reform in Namaqualand. The first is concerned with models of land management in both new and old common lands: what effect will the imposition of either a commercial or communal land management model have on twin objectives of poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability? We conclude that the commercial farming model is rarely appropriate in Namaqualandís communal areas and suggest that sustainable development is more likely under a flexible system which takes account of both the objectives of communal farmers and the constraints under which they operate. The second question explores the implications of recent policy shifts regarding the use of commonage as a ëstepping stoneí for emergent black commercial farmers. We ask if this is feasible in the Namaqualand context and conclude that present rates of grant are inadequate to provide incentives for emergent commercial farmers to move off the commons. The contradictions inherent in using the commons for both poverty alleviation and as a ëstepping stoneí are likely to result in a backward step reminiscent of the discredited ëeconomic unitsí policy.