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A criminological exploration of the South African land restitution process: a non-empirical study of KwaZulu-Natal.

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This research was aimed at exploring crimes which are involved in the process of restitution of land in KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa. The motivation of the study is that since the Restitution of Land Rights Act 22 of 1994 was enacted after South Africa’s independence, the focus has been on giving people the land back which is up to today not half done. Instead of resorting to measures like land grabs and unplanned expropriation of land without compensation, the researcher decided to look at the root cause of why the process of restitution has been slow and sometimes not completed. The researcher did this by exploring the criminological reasons for such. To ensure that the end-product of this research is achieved, a qualitative approach (using systematic literature review) was used to explore the Restitution of Land Rights Act 22 of 1994 and link it with crimes involved. Data was collected using systematic literature review. This was done to assist with assessing at all documents, journals, reported news, case law and statutes. The data collected was analysed using Content Analysis method (CA). The essence of Content Analysis was that it brings scholars’ opinions, reported cases, decided cases and published journals and dissertations together. This is important as the researcher had different sources to investigate when embarking on this journey. The main findings highlighted that most land related crimes are committed by the tribunal authorities in KZN. These are the chiefs who are responsible for looking after and distributing communal land to the community after it has been given back to a community or individuals. Other findings indicated that if South Africa does not take measures, other crimes committed in other countries by people like land guards can end up being practiced in South Africa. This study suggest that successful individual claimants should be able to be given back land straight to themselves or otherwise they choose a curator of their choice. The other suggestion is that the implementation of the process should be strict, and the land commissioners should be monitored and produce progress reports on the cases they would have handled. A recommendation offered is that scholars may do a critic or further study on land related crimes.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.