There is growing concern in South Africa, especially amongst the rural landless population, regarding the pace and direction of land reform. Some communities have, for five years, been waiting for a decision from government on their land claim, which understandably creates anger, impatience and despair. Some farmers and current land owners have also expressed concern about the slow pace at which the land restitution claims are being processed, saying it hurts the way they conduct business. White farmers claim that the delay in the finalization of the claims against their farms made it impossible for them to spend money on improving their farms, for fear of not being compensated. Land claims have stalled investment in farming, which threatens agricultural production. Farmers also claimed that banks were refusing to give loans to those under claims. There exists a challenge with respect to the perception of land valuation/prices of agricultural properties and, at the same time, there has been dissatisfaction from the point of view of the Land Claims Commissioner that White farmers are demanding more than the true value of land. To date, there has not been any study to indicate a before-and-after situation of land claims, with post transfer service not properly documented. This research report describes the process of rural land claims in the Limpopo Province of South Africa through a case study of Makotopong Communal Property Association (C.P.A) as outlined in the Land Reform Act. The case study focuses on developmental activities and access to agricultural services such as extension and identification of post-settlement services available to the community. An unstructured questionnaire was used to obtain qualitative data from the committee members of the Makotopong CPA, Community members, RLCC project officers and project officers from Nkuzi Development Trust; a Non-governmental organisation assisting land reform beneficiaries. The main findings of the research depict an inherent uniqueness of rural land claims compared to urban claims. This inherent uniqueness of rural claims contributes towards the slow pace of delivery of the restitution process. The period from lodgement to restoration of land rights is slow, thus leading to the deterioration of land because of the uncertain future of the previous owners. The post-settlement services which amongst others include capacity building, integrated project development, integration of various government departments’, institutional arrangements and skills transfer is seldom in place when the land is eventually settled upon.
Dissertation (MInst Agrar)--University of Pretoria, 2009.