The importance of successful land reform to correct the injustices of the past and restore dignity to the majority of our population is well accepted and appreciated. There is a common understanding that the land reform process has been too slow, bureaucratic and costly. This has created frustration and partly contributed to more radical views and proposals on how to deal with the inequality in land ownership in SA. These proposals quite often ignore the history of the land reform programme as well as the lessons learnt from our own and international experience. This is the first article in a series intended to shed light on the various contested land reform issues, particularly farmland. It highlights the lessons learnt from agricultural land reform internationally and the expensive lessons learnt in SA over the 24 years of our own land reform programme. During the design years of the mid-1990s it was well accepted that SA should not repeat the mistakes of land reform programmes le...

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