Why title deeds aren’t the solution to South Africa’s land tenure problem
The conventional view is that insecurity of land tenure results from the lack of a registered title deed which records the property rights of occupants of land or housing. Across Africa, many governments and international development agencies are promoting large-scale land titling as the solution.
In the South African context, some commentators suggest that a key legacy of the apartheid past is the continued tenure insecurity of the third of the population who live in “communal areas”, under unelected chiefs or of traditional councils. The remedy, they suggest, is simple: extend the system of title deeds to all South Africans.
We have just published a book which disputes this view. Untitled. Securing land tenure in urban and rural South Africa contains case studies of a wide range of land tenure systems found in different parts of the country.
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