Investigating land reform challenges: a case study in the Limpopo province
In South Africa, since the end of Apartheid in 1994, a wide range of state, community and private sector initiatives have aimed to redistribute wealth and extend social and economic opportunities to previously disadvantaged black people. One such policy is land reform, which aims to redistribute agricultural land among the broader population, restore ancestral lands to individuals and communities, and strengthen land rights more generally. The highly-developed nature of the commercial agricultural sector in South Africa provides opportunities for previously marginalised groups to engage in the production of high-value commodities for domestic and international markets but also presents major challenges in terms of capital, skills and competitiveness. The study utilised the qualitative research methodology of an exploratory and narrative nature. A case study method was used where the key informant interviews were conducted people involved in the Ravele CPA project. The study had seven respondents. From the responses given in the interviews, it is clear to see that there is a disjuncture between the leadership of the CPA and the community at large. The top-down approach to participation leaves the community frustrated as they do not have the know-how to fully participate in the project. Rather, they can only wait for the leadership to feed them with information. Capacity building in terms of bursaries is doing very well. However, the people who are at grassroots level, who just need help to support their families and have no education, have been left out of the loop. The government has set up programmes through the department of agriculture and some educational institutions for the community to be helped, but too much bureaucracy has created delays. The government departments cannot be left out from the day-to-day running of the projects because if serious problems arise, it might be too late to save the project as seen from other land reform projects that have dismally failed.