Urban Land and the Genesis of Violence
The question of land has been a burning issue in the history of South Africa. Under colonialism and apartheid, various laws and policies were used to dispossess and force black people from their ancestral land. Since the democratic transition in 1994, there have been questions whether land reform or restitution processes have worked. Early in 2018, parliament voted for a review of Section 25 of the constitution. Since then, the Constitutional Review Committee has hosted meetings in town halls across South Africa to encourage debate on whether land must be expropriated without compensation or not. In the back and forth of this debate, the moral and historical imperatives for reparations and justice, the call for human dignity and a demand to receive what was promised by the democratic government are pitted against a caucus that raises the spectre of market logic, falling investor confidence and concerns over food security. This research report seeks to add to the many voices in this conversation from the perspective of competition over urban land and the violence that often ensues as a result.