Reconceptualising redistribution of land in South Africa: A possible legal framework

Authors: Tina Kotzé & Juanita M Pienaar

ISSN: 1996-2177
Affiliations: BA LLB LLM LLD (Stellenbosch); BJuris LLM LLD (Potch)
Source: South African Law Journal, Volume 138 Issue 2, p. 289-324


After 27 years the unequal distribution of land in South Africa remains prevalent, despite a constitutional mandate, and corresponding legislative measures and policy documents. In light of the government’s dismal track record in achieving any meaning ful redistribution, this article suggests a possible overarching legal framework within which land redistribution in South Africa could be approached and, ultimately, monitored and adjusted as needed. This requires, from the outset, a contextualisation of relevant concepts of ‘access to land’ and ‘redistribution’ respectively. Thereafter, the article proposes seven different phases, comprising a coherent and broad legal framework for land redistribution. Where relevant, we consider recent developments, including the 2020 Beneficiary Policy and the 2019 Land Reform Report. While all land, urban as well as rural, is integral in the redistribution endeavour, the article’s main emphasis is on agricultural land: reference is made to urban and peri-urban land only where appropriate. The article concludes with an Annexure that contains a schematic overview of the suggested different phases, and the corresponding institutions we propose ought to be responsible for, or involved in administering, the respective phases.