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Proposed communal land policy could replay 1913

Author: Siyabulela Manona

The  government has tried and serially failed in the 21 years since democracy dawned to resolve questions around the authority of traditional leaders in South Africa’s rural areas and, aligned to that, the forms of land ownership that should apply in the former apartheid homelands. It seems now to be gearing up to try again. 

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform hosted a communal tenure indaba in Gauteng at the end of May. 

Though the giant event passed almost unnoticed by the media and general public, the indaba took place against a backdrop of intensifying debate about the ownership, use and management of communal land. 

After two tough days of deliberation in focused commissions and general plenary debates, the sobering reality that emerged was that liberation would remain an empty promise until the national policy debate begins properly to address issues facing the rural poor, who constitute more than 17-million of the population and mostly live in the former homelands. 

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