Impact of land restitution on local economic development.
International practice in newly achieved independence has been that land ownership be rectified through a programme of Land Reform. South Africa’s case is therefore no exception to that practice. In the South African case land reform involves transferring land from White owners to Black owners who lost the right to ownership under the Apartheid political dispensation. The South African programme set a target of achieving the transfer of 30% of White owned land by 2014. Noble as it sounds, this goal appears to be unachievable if what was delivered up to 2011 is anything to go by. At the end of the first 10 years only 2.4% was registered as transferred. Despite announcements of reviews on what was done in the past there is very little guarantee that the set goal can be attained in 2014. This document has looked at “the impact of land restitution on local economic development”. Through the application of Action Research within the Systems approach which is a qualitative methodology, the researcher looked at three levels in which impact can be tested. A global view was taken, followed by a national view and lastly isolating a Restitution farm/village as a case study. The village is called Molote City in the District of Bojanala in the North West Province. The study went into finding out whether there was any impact-positive or negative on the economy of this village’s locality and similarly in other localities throughout the country where the programme was implemented. Other parts of the world were briefly studied for the same purpose. The countries included in the study are; Japan, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Bulgaria, Brazil. Countries like Tanzania and Kenya were mentioned in passing. The study was more detailed in its research processes at case study level as stakeholders were interviewed and their responses duly recorded as part of the findings. Information about land reform in other parts of the world was largely collected through literature review. This research work led to a number of findings that should form part of land restitution review process. Based on reports from diverse sources it has been reliably established that restitution programme in South Africa had a negative impact on local economic development. What came out clear is that the programme displaced whatever was contributing towards sustaining local economies but failed to provide alternative avenues towards the continuation of this economic sustenance. Two major categories of challenges have been recorded as policy and implementation strategy. A very long list of sub-categories that need attention are outlined with elaborate recommendations that would turn the programme around if adopted amongst other efforts. South Africans are not alone in this type of situation as all the countries whose programmes were studied except for Zimbabwe did not get it right the first time. The most important thing at the moment is to regard the lessons learned as crucial in building the second generation programme which must also be regarded as part of the second socio-economic transition.