n Stellenbosch Law Review = Stellenbosch Regstydskrif - Tenure security and farmland: will recent policy and legislative developments improve the plight of rural dwellers?

Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1016-4359
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2193



Twenty years since the government embarked on an all-encompassing land reform programme, tenure security on white-owned commercial farmland is generally still lacking. This led the government to review its policy and legislative measures on tenure reform, particularly tenure security on farmland, with the aim to improve tenure security. The Draft Tenure Security Policy ("Draft Policy") and Draft Land Tenure Security Bill were published in 2010. This article examines the government's obligation to improve tenure security, in particular relating to rural dwellers and farm workers. In this regard the article focuses specifically on the shortcomings of the existing policy and legislative measures in order to highlight the possible impact of the Draft Policy and Bill in this context. The article questions whether the Draft Policy and Bill in its present format are suitable to address the challenges on farmland in relation to tenure security. In this regard, two options are explored, namely (i) whether overhauling the whole tenure system on farmland will be necessary to address tenure issues; or (ii) whether amending the Extension of Security of Tenure Act 62 of 1997 ("ESTA") and the Land Reform (Labour Tenants) Act 3 of 1996 ("LTA") would be more appropriate. Due to the continued existing shortcomings linked to capacity and implementation, as well as the between the Draft Policy and Bill, it seems as if an overhaul of the whole tenure system on farmland would not be a feasible solution. Instead, apart from amending and improving ESTA and the LTA, specific proactive conduct from the government and other role players is required. Institutional capacity building and adequate funding are further requisites to ensure effective implementation of legislation and tenure reform measures.

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