Notions of land and agrarian reform are now well entrenched in post-apartheid South Africa. But what this reform actually means for everyday life is not clearly understood, nor the way it will impact on the political economy. In the Shadow of Policy explores the interface between the policy of land and agrarian reform and its implementation; and between the decisions of policy ‘experts’ and actual livelihood experiences in the fields and homesteads of land reform projects.
Provincial negotiating mandates tabled to the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on 15 October 2013 showed overwhelming rejection of the Traditional Courts Bill (TCB) by the provinces. However, instead of following parliamentary procedure and debating the mandates - which would inevitably have led to the withdrawal of the Bill - the NCOP committee sent back the provincial mandates to be considered for the third time, purportedly ‘for clarity and removing ambiguities’.
The centenary year of the 1913 Natives Land Act is drawing to a close and we are looking ahead to marking two decades of democratic governance in 2014. Many questions arise as to the extent to which the democratisation that seemed imminent in 1994 has been achieved, especially in rural areas in the former homelands.
According to an opinion by Glenn Ashton, “We are what we eat and on the whole South Africans are unhealthy” because the increasingly industrialised food chain they eat far too much refined, processed food.
Ashton points out that the poor are exceptionally exposed to this pernicious trend, with the cheapest maize meal consisting disproportionately of husks, which provide very little nutritional benefit.
He argues that in some cases, diets consist of more than 90 percent of maize meal, adding that, “What passes as food is too often a simulacrum, counterfeit.”
The Supreme Court of Appeal has sharply criticised the Land Claims Court (LCC) for ruling that restoring tribal land in the North West to the Baphiring community is not feasible, without any evidence.
The Appeal judges referred the matter back to the LCC to reconsider the feasibility of restoring the agricultural land known as ‘old Mabaalstad’ in the Koster district to the community.
The LCC was also ordered to take into consideration the nature of the land and surrounding environment and changes that have taken place since the dispossession in 1971.
According to the Africa Agriculture Status Report, Africa has 60 percent of the world's arable land and most of its countries depend on farming as the mainstay of their economies, yet productivity is low, the average size of land holdings is shrinking, soil fertility is declining, fertiliser use is the lowest in the world and rural people are unable to break out of poverty.
Rural Affairs Minister, Gugile Nkwinti, has for the first time opened up about the controversial Masibambisane development project run by President Jacob Zuma and his cousin, Deebo Mzobe.
Nkwinti, whose department has been closely associated with the project, in effect accused Masibambisane of hijacking rural-development initiatives.
“It was the way it was managed and the way it has been projected. It is out of order,” he argues.
Zuma is the NGO’s chair and Mzobe his deputy.
After nine years of waiting, the community of Ncera, a sprawling rural settlement located just outside East London, celebrated the success of its long-term community development project in the form of a launch to welcome the first harvest from the Ncera Macadamia Farming Project.
Along with local government and community organisations, the people of Ncera village hailed the success of the project, a community planting and harvesting initiative which aims to alleviate poverty and create employment in the region.
The Rural Health Advocacy Project, SECTION27, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa (RuDASA) have closely followed and reported on the governance problems at Tintswalo Hospital over the past years. Our first letter on this issue was submitted to the then Member of Executive Council (MEC) of Health - Mahlangu on the 19th of April 2010. Amongst other things, this letter stated: