South Africa Struggles To Redistribute Farmland

A 2014 goal of 30% farm ownership by blacks in South Africa is far from being met, as whites still control more than 80% of the nation's farmland. Many say the government's land reform laws are incapable of efficiently redistributing the land.

"When the African National Congress (ANC) took power in 1994, with the black majority's overwhelming backing, whites owned about 87% of South Africa's farmland. The new government set a target for at least 30% of it to be transferred to blacks by 2014. More than a decade on, only 4% has changed hands. Now, under pressure from its core supporters, the government says it will expropriate more land and review the willing-seller-willing-buyer principle under which it has operated so far."

"About 5% of farmland has been up for sale every year, which in theory makes the 30% target look easily obtainable. In KwaZulu-Natal, black farmers have actually bought as much land on their own as the government has redistributed."

"But there is often a mismatch between the farms for sale, usually quite large ones, and what would-be farmers can buy with the small government grants they receive. By law, to preserve efficiency, farms may not be subdivided."

Full Story: Why land reform is so tricky


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