IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

How rural land reform policy translates into benefits


  • Tim GB Hart


Land reform policy in South Africa has been strongly criticised, especially its instrumentality. However, recent ethnographic studies indicate that it is a complex and deeply social process in which policy is understood differently by different actors. Rather than asking whether land reform works we should ask how it works. Using a case study of SLAG (Settlement Land Acquisition Grant) redistribution beneficiaries in a southern Cape village, this paper describes how these rural residents interpreted policy and used the resources put at their disposal by the state. These local actors' decisions and actions were based largely on their livelihood requirements and frequently determined by their historical experiences and social relationships. Although they behaved in ways that were not anticipated by officials, a number have gained tangible benefits. Beneficiary ‘success stories’ have given credence to the land reform policy, and state officials have responded by continuing to provide support to the project that was the subject of this study.

Suggested Citation

  • Tim GB Hart, 2012. "How rural land reform policy translates into benefits," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(4), pages 563-573, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:4:p:563-573
    DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2012.715442

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:4:p:563-573. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.