Some of the world’s most successful land reform programmes took place in countries where the beneficiaries were those who occupied the land at the time of the reform. This may be true for the provision of secure tenure to occupiers living under legally insecure tenure arrangements in communal areas, but the context is quite different for the redistribution and restitution programmes in SA. Because of a long history of dispossession, the land redistribution and restitution programmes will naturally involve the displacement of current land owners in favour of the resettlement and relocation of beneficiaries. Such processes require that clear criteria and principles be established at the outset, to guide participation as well as to achieve the objectives of the programme. In the case of the restitution programme, the criteria have always been clear since it was linked to those families, communities or their successors who previously occupied the specific piece of land, as verified by o...

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