The Interaction between the Land Redistribution Programme and the Land Market in South Africa: A Perspective on the Willing-Buyer/ Willing-Seller Approach

"In South Africa, the willing-buyer/willing-seller approach is frequently blamed for the fact that the government's redistribution programme has thus far fallen well short of expectations. To what extent is this judgement justified? Moreover, if the willingbuyer/willing-seller approach has indeed contributed to the unimpressive rate of delivery of the land redistribution programme, is this on account of certain aspects of the approach or is the willing-buyer/willing-seller approach fundamentally unsuited to the task allocated to it? The objective of this paper is to provide a partial answer to these questions. In short, the paper argues, on the one hand, that the willing-buyer/willing-seller approach is not as fundamentally ill-suited a mechanism to effect state-supported land redistribution as is commonly claimed. On the other hand, the paper suggests that the unimaginative manner in which the willing-buyer/willing-seller approach is being applied is definitely contributing to the slow pace of redistribution, and reflects a lack of vision and ambition among policy-makers."