n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - The land titling debate in South Africa

Volume 2006, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0257-7747
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2207



More than fourteen million people in South Africa - that is, almost a third of the population - practise communal land tenure. Communal land tenure is embedded in a range of social relationships where land rights are inclusive rather than exclusive, being shared and derived from accepted membership of a social unit. This is mainly found in the rural areas and previous homelands, which are characterised by lack of secure land rights and inadequate access to land, severe over-population and widespread poverty. In sub-Saharan Africa communal land tenure is often associated with environmental degradation and unproductive farming activities. It is a hotly debated issue whether communal land tenure practices are the main cause of these negative results or whether other factors have contributed to the present situation. Furthermore, a serious problem in South Africa is the dissension between local governments and traditional leaders in these areas, which exacerbates the lack of basic infrastructure, impedes planning and undermines management structures.

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