There are multiple land debates happening in SA. One, in the urban context with running battles mediated by the police, occurs between homeowners on mortgaged property and what is lazily termed "land grabbers", as in places such as Protea Glen and other townships. Another took place last week in the well-heeled countryside, the domain of large commercial agriculture, with tense dialogue at Nampo Harvest Day 2018 last week, with less tear gas and more fanfare but similar anxiety. Nampo revealed that the theatrics and tenor in urban (and largely residential and commercially focused) and rural land debates, despite similarities, are often played on different stages, with the same actors. For instance, the banks have a crucial role in both debates. In contrast, some of the other sector players in the rural debate (tractor and fertiliser manufacturers, for instance), are not as prominent in the urban debate, where spatial use, zoning and planning (and confronting the financial services s...

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