Land reform projects as LED contributors : KwaZulu-Natal case study.
This research focuses on KwaZulu-Natal case studies of land reform projects that serve as contributors to local economic development (LED). Key stakeholders and role players on LED matters within the KwaZulu-Natal province serve as respondents. The study seeks to answer critical questions regarding the success and viability of land reform projects. “Rural development is one of the the signature projects that swept the African National Congress (ANC) to power. It is supposed to distinguish the new administration from all that has gone before by having a dedicated ministry specifically to look after the forgotten countryside”, (Mabanga 2010, p. 36). For communities operating registered companies, some of the major challenges, amongst others, include a lack of farm management skills, business skills, financial skills and governance skills (including corporate governance). Leadership challenges are experienced between community members that ultimately may lead to the collapse of projects. There are also concerns regarding state support for post settlement. This affects the operation and capitalization of the projects and is required to kick-start projects after land transfers. Other challenges include skills shortage amongst managers and post settlement support for specific industries to ease transfer of skills to beneficiaries. The majority of the post-settlement support from the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has no, or limited, skills in specific industries like forestry, sugarcane, crop farming and animal farming. Consequently there is a shortage of proper advice to the community managers from inception and the incumbent official then still has to learn the industry operating systems. Ultimately all the parties rely heavily on consultants to provide assistance to newly emerging farmers or business entrepreneurs within the communities. The transfer of developmental grants is a major headache currently facing the majority of land beneficiaries. The department of rural development still owes communities post-settlement grants or development grants back-dated to the 2008/09 financial period. The objective of this study was to arrive at some guidelines and recommendations that will contribute to the success of land reform projects and thereby contribute to LED within KwaZulu-Natal province.