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Land politics in the new state organisation in South Africa


  • Thorvald Gran


In a study of land politics carried out from 2001 to 2005 in the two western provinces of South Africa, the Northern Cape and the Western Cape, a high degree of distrust was recorded between institutions in the provincial government. This article attempts to explain the distrust and how it affected the role of the land state in land reform in the two provinces. The analysis is developed from an institutional political science perspective. The findings are that the distrust does not threaten the democratic character of the new state but that it seriously hampers the efficiency of the government in land redistribution and the supply of infrastructure relevant to productive activities on newly settled land. The article describes how government focus on commercial farming affects the land state's relations to multiple livelihood communities on communal land and suggests that a post-liberation policy regression in the African National Congress explains part of the urban-commercial bias in land reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Thorvald Gran, 2009. "Land politics in the new state organisation in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(1), pages 3-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:26:y:2009:i:1:p:3-16
    DOI: 10.1080/03768350802640008

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