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.

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...

Revitalising Agriculture: Healing the Land, Feeding our Nation

Picture: Women packing vegetable courtesy AUSAID South Africa/flickr Glenn Ashton - South Africa is a harsh country, a place of extremes. Producing sufficient food for our people has always been a difficult challenge. The new Minister of Agriculture, who can only be an improvement on the previous incumbent, is an interesting choice. Senzeni Zokwana is the national chairperson of the South African Communist Party, as well as having headed up the National Union of Mineworkers. He has no background in agriculture, in common with his deputy, ex-Police commissioner Bheki...

The Nomzamo Eviction: A Potential Turning Point?

Picture: Human Settlements Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, courtesy GovernmentZA/flickr Richard Pithouse - The destruction of the Nomzamo settlement in Lwandle, Cape Town, has received an extraordinary degree of political and media attention, much of it noting the illegality and brutality of the eviction, and much of it sympathetic to the occupiers. Evictions, generally illegal and frequently violent, have been an everyday part of actually existing modes of urban governance in post-apartheid South Africa. Most of the major cities have units maintained for the sole purpose of mobilising state...