Voices that matter: Law-making and the Bantustans, 100 years on

In the same chamber that the 1913 Natives Land Act was passed, Parliament marked its centenary with a workshop on “Redressing the legacy of the 1913 Land Act” on June 7-8. Present were parliamentarians, traditional leaders, civil society and rural delegates, all of who were invited to contribute their views on land reform. The make-up of the room could not have looked more different than it did 100 years ago. And yet, even with the gains and advancements that have come with democracy, echoes of apartheid’s disenfranchisement could still be felt.

Disenfranchisement in South Africa was perpetrated using more than Casspirs and teargas. A more subtle form of violence did the work: the violence of exclusion. The process of categorisation into “tribes”; the related assignment to the artificial boundaries of “homelands”; the instalment of chiefs; and the imposition of official “customary law” – all these were achieved through the suppression of contrary and diverse voices.

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/voices-that-matter-law-making-and-the-bantustans-100-years-on-2/

“New” land tenure model brings back unconstitutional CLaRA

The government is proposing a communal land tenure model that is a crude version of the model contained in the Communal Land Rights Act (CLaRA) of 2004, struck down by the Constitutional Court in 2010.

This emerged at a workshop on “Redressing the legacy of the 1913 Land Act”, hosted by parliamentary portfolio committees at Parliament, Cape Town, on June 7-8. As part of a presentation titled “Communal land tenure reform – proposed policies”, Director General of Rural Development and Land Reform Mduduzi Shabane presented a diagram on a “communal land tenure model”.

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/new-land-tenure-model-brings-back-unconstitutional-clara/

New Restitution Bill could open floodgates for chiefs’ land claims

The Western Cape leg of the public consultation about the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill started in Cape Town on June 4th. This is only 10 days after the bill was introduced. People are scrambling to make sense of the implications of the bill, and the reasons for its sudden introduction. At face value, the bill seems a generous proposal. It will re-open the window for land claims, allowing people dispossessed of their land to put in claims until 2018. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/new-restitution-bill-could-open-floodgates-for-chiefs-land-claims/

Apartheid distortions of customary law rob women of land rights – and livelihoods

Mobilisation against the Traditional Courts Bill brought together women living in often remote rural areas around the country. In sharing their experiences with one another in meetings and workshops, what repeatedly emerged was how precarious their rights to land are. Here we tell the stories of Dudu Xaba and Cazile Hadebe, two women whose land tenure insecurity threatens their very existence. Their stories, two among many, show what is at stake when Parliament fails to meet its constitutional mandate to redress the land crisis created by the Bantustan system, and at the same time passes laws that bolster chiefly power.

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/apartheid-distortions-of-customary-law-rob-women-of-land-rights-and-livelihoods/

Rural people remain in limbo waiting for CLaRA’s replacement

Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti’s comments at the Land Divided Conference in March 2013 triggered warning bells about the continued legal void regarding communal land tenure.

This lacuna creates an environment where “people in rural communities are not able to have security of tenure, to have CPAs [Communal Property Associations] and to make sure that all these things… function because traditional leaders block them,” political analyst and gender activist Nomboniso Gasa pointed out after Nkwinti’s speech.

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/rural-people-remain-in-limbo-waiting-for-claras-replacement/