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Rural municipality case studies: Land reform, farm employment and livelihoods

Summary of research reports supported with funding from the National Treasury, USAID, and the Human Sciences Research Council

Human Sciences Research Council, Praxis Development Practitioners, Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies - UWC

July 2006

SARPN acknowledges the HSRC as a source of this document:
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The RDP Policy Framework document of 1993 stated that, "A national land reform programme is the central and driving force of a programme of rural development.… [I]n implementing the national land reform programme…the democratic government will build the economy by generating large-scale employment, increasing rural incomes and eliminating overcrowding" (1994, §2.4.2). The boldness of the RDP's assertion appears to be worlds apart from the land reform programme that exists over 12 years later. Were the RDP's expectations fundamentally ill-founded, or has the implementation of land reform failed to realise its underlying potential?

The objective of the current research project is to clarify the economic case for redistributive land reform. This is motivated by the perception that, notwithstanding progress in respect of land reform delivery and certain aspects of policy development, land reform is making little economic impact at the level of communities or indeed the country. And yet, the need for land reform appears as great as ever, especially in light of declining agricultural employment, which is undermining one of the main traditional sources of rural livelihoods.

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