Are Reparations Enough? Land Equity Reform In South Africa
Despite the end of colonial rule and apartheid, land in Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe is still not equitably distributed.
Land reform and governance are among the most controversial issues in Africa, VoiceofAmerica reports.
In South Africa, 87 percent of land was owned by whites when Nelson Mandela became president in 1994. Whites represented 10 percent of the population. Only a small amount of that land has changed hands and it’s still a top priority of the government, according to VOA.
The willing-seller, willing-buyer policy adopted under President Jacob Zuma has not been a success. The ANC government is under pressure to accelerate land ownership reforms, said Shaka Ssali, host of the VOA show, Straight Talk Africa.
South Africa’s Land Restitution Act was the first passed by the post-apartheid government but it has been stymied by lack of training for officials and “a lot of bureaucratic incapacity,” according to law professor and author Bernadette Attuahene.
The process is going so slow because of administrative hurdles, Attuahene said. Enough money isn’t being devoted to it.
In her book, “We Want What’s Ours,” Attuahene talks about “dignity taking,” saying mere land reparations are not enough.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, confiscated land from whites — a move seen as a key component of the country’s economic decline. Mugabe blamed the economic decline on colonialism and drought. Most farms in Zimbabwe are black owned.
Agricultural researcher Propser Matondi calls Zimbabwe’s land reform program a success — one that has moved the country’s farms into commercial production.