A critical analysis of the policy advocacy role of civil society organisations in land reform issues : a case study of the Association for Rural Advancement in the Land Redistribution Programme in KwaZulu-Natal.
This study aims at exploring the policy advocacy role of civil society organizations in land reforms policy using the Association for Rural Advancement in KwaZulu-Natal as a case study, and focusing specifically on the aspect of land redistribution programme. The specific objectives of the study are to identify the advocacy strategies used, to assess their strengths and weaknesses, to examine the extent to which land redistribution programme is being influenced by the advocacy action of AFRA, to identify the limitations in policy advocacy for land redistribution, and to assess the effectiveness of AFRA‘s policy advocacy work in the lens of the factors for effective policy advocacy delineated by Bratton (1994: 48-55). Thus, this study provides an understanding of the magnitude and challenges of policy advocacy functions of CSOs in such a sensitive issue as the land ownership in South Africa. This study has been informed by qualitative research methodology in both data gathering and analysis. Data were collected using a triangulation of data collection techniques, and analyzed using thematic analysis, which is a method for identifying, analysing and reporting patterns (themes) within data. It has emerged from this study that civil society organisations provide avenues for voices and issues that may not have been prioritised by policy makers to be placed on the public agenda. A wide range of strategies to engage with the state are employed by civil society organisations, and those strategies are strategically employed in a complementary manner so that they could be more effective depending on the issue at hand and the context within which advocacy is being made. Furthermore, it comes out the study that there are many challenges faced by the CSOs involved in land issues, among others are the antagonistic climate portraying the relationships with the state, the issue of funding, the low literacy level of rural landless people, etc. For more impact to be perceived in policy influence, the study suggests that CSOs in the land sector and AFRA in particular should establish an effective networking framework in order to pool resources, and share expertise and experience; they should increase their clients‘ involvement in policy process by making opening their membership to rural people living in the communities they work with; examine the possibility to gain domestic financial base. For government agencies, more particularly the Department of Land Affairs, it is suggested to reassess their relationships with the civil society so that the two sectors work collaboratively for the best of the poor people they all have to serve.