Elite Capture in Land Redistribution in South Africa
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The research on elite capture in land redistribution in South Africa was conceived against the background of a significant decline in systematic research on land reform outcomes. Data on land reform outcomes and more specifically, evidence on who has been benefiting from South Africa’s land redistribution, is generally poor. Currently, land reform beneficiaries access land through the leasehold system, initially introduced through Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) in 2006, and operationalised through the State Land Lease and Disposal Policy (SLLDP) in 2013. The government introduced a new and revised SLLDP in 2019. This research specifically focuses on land reform projects commonly referred to as PLAS farms but are leased to beneficiaries on the basis of the SLLDP. Accordingly, we refer to these projects as SLLDP farms in line with the SLLDP which outlines the terms on which the state may agricultural land to land reform beneficiaries. Our research for this report sought to deepen our understanding of elite capture and to provide a more comprehensive picture of how elite capture unfolds in land reform. The key overarching questions framing this report include the following: who has benefited from South Africa’s land redistribution? Who have been the winners and losers in land redistribution and why? What are the criteria for beneficiary targeting and selection? This research shows that the net effect has been to redirect state resources originally intended for the poor, to the better-off.