Government land is central to meaningful land reform
The state hides behind rhetoric while pretending to be serious about redistribution
With politicians spewing antiproperty rights rhetoric, we could but wonder what exactly sets the democratic government apart from the former apartheid regime. The central feature of apartheid was a denial of property rights to black South Africans, a tradition the democratic government has continued. Just as it was under the nationalists in the past, the government today still controls a substantial amount of land in SA. For most of the historically black areas, this remains especially true. In 2001, the Demographic Information Group and Population of SA (Popsa) found that a quarter of land in SA was owned by municipal government. According to the Department of Land Affairs, in 2009 national and provincial governments owned about 25-million hectares of land. By 2013, the total state ownership of land appears to have decreased to about 14% of all land in the country. It remains unclear, however, for which departments and for what purposes land is being held. As recently as 2007, some...
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