Despite the achievement of Constitutional democracy in 1994, 'the land question' is at the heart of South Africa's struggles to overcome the cumulative legacies of nearly 350 years of white minority rule. The emotive quality of land policies evokes painful legacies fuelled by disappointments with the official land reform programme ushered in by the new Constitution of 1996. There is broad agreement that land reform programmes have not fulfilled their aims to significantly redistribute land and productive agrarian capacity, strengthen land tenure for the majority, and settle the restitution claims of victims of land dispossession.
Land redistribution through just and equitable means remains contentious in the South African political and judicial landscape. Under the apartheid rule, the distribution of land was aligned to race, with the minority white population allocated about 90% of arable and habitable land, while the majority black population was allocated the minute remainder, mainly in the homelands.
Land ownership and income inequality remain highly emotive subjects more than two decades after the end of apartheid in South Africa
JOHANNESBURG, May 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The South African government's promises of returning land to black South Africans taken during apartheid are under the spotlight during national elections this Wednesday, land experts said.