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Strategising Consultation: Government Approaches to Legitimising Land Tenure Reform Policies in Post-apartheid South Africa


  • Elizabeth Fortin


This paper considers struggles of legitimation by the South African government over the first ten years of the country’s democracy, by focusing on its engagement with policymaking processes in relation to land tenure reform in the former 'homelands' of the country. During such periods of upheaval and change, the achievement of legitimacy by the state will only be achieved through deeply political processes. In exploring the strategies adopted by policy-makers and bureaucrats to legitimise contested political change, it considers how they were influenced by wider ideals of participatory policymaking and consultation. However, in the process, the paper also demonstrates how they were further shaped by the everyday realities determining the practices of governing, as well as the changing extent to which government officials were constrained in their own ability to influence policy. In this context, it is argued, claims of participatory policy-making largely came to constitute strategies of legitimation for policies that had already been formulated.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth Fortin, 2009. "Strategising Consultation: Government Approaches to Legitimising Land Tenure Reform Policies in Post-apartheid South Africa," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 9009, GDI, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:9009

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