More than sixteen million people in South Africa (almost a third of the population) practise communal land tenure. Communal land tenure encompasses more than land rights – it is also a cultural and social phenomena. However, it is characterized by lack of secure land rights, inadequate access to land, severe over-population, unproductive farming activities and widespread poverty. Several solutions to these problems are proposed by economists, sociologists and lawyers. This paper deals with the following questions:
1. Would the individualisation of land tenure by a land titling programme, as proposed by the Peruvian economist De Soto, secure land rights, develop land markets, enlarge individualised capital assets, improve agricultural methods and increase commercial institutions’ investment in agricultural enterprises?
2. Sociologists and anthropologists warn against simplified solutions and the breaking down of community structures, which are presently one of the few support mechanisms of many communal societies. The crisp question is whether community structures alone would protect the land rights of communities, increase development and alleviate poverty?
3. Is the titling programme in terms of the Communal Land Rights Act 11 of 2004 a viable solution to the present development problems in rural areas? It is contended that the solution lies in a holistic approach by combining a suitable titling programme for group or communal land rights with protective legislative measures.
|Keywords:||Communal Land Tenure, Access to Rural Land, Community Structures, Land Titling, Alleviation of Poverty, Economic Aspects of Titling, Social Aspects of Titling|
Academic Professor, Faculty of Law, Northwest University, Potchefstroom, Northwest Province, South Africa
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