Many land reform projects have been implemented in South Africa since 1994 in an attempt to redress imbalances in land ownership which resulted from the racially biased policies of the South African government prior to 1994. The objective of land redistribution is commercially viable land reform projects, but evidence from various reports and other documents suggests that a large number of these projects have failed. Factors such as poor beneficiary selection, the problematic land acquisition process and a lack of post-settlement support have been reported in a number of studies as contributing to the failure of these projects. This study expands on the work of Kirsten and Machethe (2005) with the main aim of revisiting land reform beneficiaries who were interviewed in 2004/5 and to assess their current performance and status, and to determine whether the prediction and classifications of the 2005 review were correct. The specific objectives of this study were to determine the socio-economic profile of land reform beneficiaries over the five years since the previous study, to show changes in their farming activities, to determine factors affecting the performance of the already transferred projects in the study area and to make recommendations that may help to improve the performance of the land reform projects in South Africa. The performance of projects in 2010 was analysed and compared with that of projects in 2005. A total of 37 of the 43 land reform projects studied in 2005 were revisited and interviews were conducted with representatives of the projects using a structured questionnaire. Government officials responsible for these projects were also interviewed and field observations of the farms were made to verify the responses of the beneficiaries. The results show that the performance and situation of a number of beneficiaries of land redistribution in North West province have not improved since the previous study. Most of the beneficiaries still depend on remittances and social grants. The results indicate decreased production in 43% of the projects visited. As many as 27% of the projects are no longer in operation. Production in some of the projects that displayed success in 2004/5 has decreased, and the number of projects that are not in operation has increased. No production has taken place in four out of ten nonoperational projects visited since the acquisition of the land. The study identified poor infrastructure and limited access to capital and to the market as challenges that the beneficiaries of land reform face in their farming businesses. Conflict among project members was also reported to contribute to the poor performance of the projects and have led to the discontinuation of some projects. Most of the beneficiaries are still not aware of government support programmes such as the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP), even after more than five years in farming. Recommendations have been made to address the poor performance of many land reform projects, both at the programme and project levels. The effectiveness of the existing support programmes should be monitored to ensure that beneficiaries receive assistance. Suggestions from the study include a strong partnership between government and former cooperatives, acknowledging the external and internal factors affecting the relationship between farmers and these agribusinesses. Cooperation between the beneficiaries of land reform, the government and other agricultural stakeholders is essential for the success and sustainability of South Africa’s land reform projects. The results of the study can be used for future evaluations of the performance in land reform programmes. Copyright
Dissertation (MInstAgrar)--University of Pretoria, 2012.