Land & Housing

SACSIS endorses the right of the poor to decent housing. We also support solutions aimed at transforming the unequal balance in land ownership, which currently concentrates much of South Africa's land in a few hands.

Labour Rights and Karoo Farmworkers: Can Power Relations Be Challenged?

Picture: Food for Maine Femke Brandt - The Labour Relations Amendment Act of 2014 (section 198 of the LRA) introduces important new rights for labour broker, contract and part-time workers. Two issues emerge in relation to how these new labour rights affect farmworkers in the Karoo. Firstly, it is highly unlikely that the amendments will improve the lives of farmworkers directly. The introduction of more progressive rights for farmworkers is resulting in a backlash from farmers. Secondly, these new rights or yet another round of...

More Lip Service on Land Reform

Picture: Farmland Grab Anna Majavu - Does the ANC intend to expropriate any land any time soon? President Jacob Zuma doesn’t appear to care for the landless at all. He doesn’t seem to believe that landlessness is even a problem. Zuma caused alarm last week when he claimed that South Africans were going hungry and living in squalid conditions because they were too lazy to work the land or build their own houses. This was a reminder of the attitude of the previous Thabo Mbeki administration, under which people...

Land, Dignity & Democracy: South Africa's Constitution Does Allow for Expropriation

Picture: Deputy Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Dikgang Moseneke, courtesy University of Maryland Richard Pithouse - At a public discussion on the land question in Johannesburg on Friday, February 27, Dikgang Moseneke, the Deputy Chief Judge of the Constitutional Court, began his remarks with a well-known quote from Frantz Fanon: “For a colonized people the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity.” He spoke about the centrality of the land question to the struggle against apartheid and argued...

Making Sense of the EFF's Land Policy

Picture: Julius Malema, Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, courtesy You Tube Stephen Greenberg - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has identified “expropriation of South Africa’s land without compensation for equal redistribution in use” as one of the party’s “seven non-negotiable cardinal pillars for economic freedom in our lifetime”. To realise this goal, the EFF’s national assembly held in December 2014 passed resolutions on land. The resolutions are very schematic, with only seven points, although they do provide some indication of the...

Lindiwe Sisulu and the New Denialism

Picture: Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, addresses Parliament during the State of the Nation Address in June this year courtesy GovernmentZA/flickr Richard Pithouse - In 2005, early in her in her first term as Minister of Housing, Lindiwe Sisulu announced that the state had resolved to ‘eradicate slums’ by 2014. This was a time when the technocratic ideal had more credibility than it does now and officials and politicians often spoke, with genuine conviction, as if it were an established fact that this aspiration would translate into reality. It was not unusual for people trying to engage the state around questions of urban land and housing to...

A Poorly Conceptualised Plan: Government's Proposal to Transfer 50% of Commercial Farm Land to Farm Workers

Picture: Farmworkers courtesy John via Wikimedia Commons Stephen Greenberg - Just before the 2014 national elections, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) announced a plan to redistribute 50% of commercial farm land to farm workers as part of ongoing efforts to redress historical imbalances in the country. The objectives of the plan are laudable: to deracialise the rural economy; to democratise the allocation and use of land by race, gender and class; and (less clearly) to support “production discipline” for food security and food...