Evaluating land and agrarian reform in South Africa : Farm tenure
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Farm dwellers are among the poorest South Africans. Most have access to residential land only. A minority has access to grazing land for their livestock or to arable land for cultivation, in return for which they may be required to provide their labour. Farm dwellers’ access to land is precarious – until recently farm owners had unrestricted rights to evict farm dwellers – and is often very limited in its extent. It was in response to these conditions that the Department of Land Affairs (DLA) developed, as part of the national land reform programme, policies to secure the tenure rights of farm dwellers. This report investigates to what extent these policies have succeeded in securing the existing tenure of farm dwellers or providing them with long-term secure rights to alternative land. The report describes the intentions of these policies, the mechanisms created to give effect to them, and the experience in enforcing these new rights. Also discussed are the special rights accorded to labour tenants and the application processes available to labour tenants who want to become owners of the land they use. The report assesses the extent to which the outcomes and impacts of these policies have met their objectives and have realised the rights enshrined in the Constitution. Finally, the report reflects on future challenges and extracts lessons from experience that need to inform future approaches to securing farm dwellers’ rights.