Implementation in a policy networks setting : a case study of the Association for Rural Advancement's Implementation of the Farm Dwellers' Project from 1994 until today.
This research focuses on policy networks as a framework to analyse the implementation of the South African Land Reform (Labour Tenant) Act 3 of 1996 (LTA) and the Extension of Security of Tenure Act 62 of 1997 (ESTA) more generally. In particular, this research looks at the Association for Rural Advancement’s (AFRA) implementation of the farm dwellers project, specifically, how this organisation has been using the policy networks approach to implement its farm dwellers project. The LTA and the ESTA guide the South African post-apartheid land reform programme. This programme responds to the racially-based system of land access created by colonialism and apartheid. It is against this system of land access that the post-apartheid, democratic government undertook a vast land reform programme, intended to redress the injustices of the past (Drimie 2003:39). The LTA and ESTA are situated within this perspective and their objectives were derived from an understanding that land reform has the potential to make a direct impact on poverty through targeted resource transfers and by addressing the economic and social injustices caused by colonial and apartheid dispossession. However, after sixteen years of democracy and policy implementation of the land reform programme, little progress has been made. This includes an undertaking in the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) of 1994, which provided a set of guidelines and principles for the evolving land policy, to redistribute, by 2014 (extended from 1999), 30% of the 80% of commercial farmland (mostly white owned) to black South Africans and to make land reform the driving force of rural development (Drimie 2003:39). By March 2009, a total of 5.2% of the targeted 30% of commercial farmland has been transferred through the various land reform programmes (Kleinbooi 2009:1). Concerns have been raised that attribute this seeming failure of the land reform programme to the government’s market approach (Mkhize 2004). This has been sustained by the government’s shift from the RDP to Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR). AFRA, in its funding proposal of 1998-2000, has identified this shift as “disturbing because it implies that government’s economic and political direction is likely to result in reduced resources for rural and agricultural development, a shift which will impact hard on the already tough conditions of poverty that people live in.” From this understanding, this research hopes to establish that the seeming failure of the implementation of the South African land reform can be improved through a more effective utilisation of policy networks. More particularly, this research hopes to establish how AFRA has been using policy networks to implement its Farm Dwellers project from 1994 until today.