Bungled land claims have created tinderboxes in SA's rural areas
The chaos has stoked tribal and xenophobic tensions, and led to job losses and low output on farms as farmers minimise investment
The land reform challenge in SA involves many issues: land restitution, intended to redress the loss of land by black communities and individuals since 1913; land redistribution by the state to black South Africans to change the skewed pattern of land ownership; and tenure reform. In recent months the issue of expropriation without compensation has hogged the headlines. Ten years ago the Centre for Development and Enterprise recommended that resolution of the restitution backlog should be the first priority for successful land reform because it lay at the root of so many other challenges in virtually all regions of the country. Sadly, this advice and the offer of a partnership on land reform from business leadership were not accepted by the government. Since then the situation has become considerably worse. The original deadline for lodging land restitution claims was 1998. Claims could only be made for land lost after 1913 as a result of racially discriminatory laws or practices. I...