State, Market or the Worst of Both? Experimenting with Market-based Land Reform in South Africa

"The concept of ‘market-based land reform’ has been central to policy debates in southern Africa for the past twenty-five years. During that time meanings and values ascribed to the concept have evolved considerably, with significant differences between, for example, how it has been applied in Zimbabwe in the 1980s and in South Africa from the mid-1990s. This paper reviews the South African experience with land reform, and land redistribution in particular, up to the end of 2005. It does not, therefore, cover proposals for a proactive land acquisition strategy (PLAS) announced by the Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs during 2006, nor the issuing of a small number of expropriation orders for land under restitution. While the National Land Summit of July 2005 signalled a broad political and popular support for a shift away from market-based approaches, it remains to be seen whether recent policy proposals will in fact lead in that direction."