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Stellenbosch University (2021)

Contested Land : A case study of land reform on the municipal commonage in Loeriesfontein, Northern Cape Province

Davids, Shu-aat

Titre : Contested Land : A case study of land reform on the municipal commonage in Loeriesfontein, Northern Cape Province

Auteur : Davids, Shu-aat

Université de soutenance : Stellenbosch University

Grade : Master Degree (Sociology and Social Anthropology) 2021

Résumé partiel
This thesis focuses on the competing claims to and interests in the municipal commonages of a small town called Loeriesfontein in the semi-arid Karoo region of the Northern Cape Province. The primary aim is to trace the relational dynamics among the organisations and actors that are involved and see how these dynamics are impacting on the potential of the commonage as a valuable resource for local households. Several studies have identified municipal commonages as playing an important but neglected role in land reform. In Loeriesfontein, however, the municipal commonage has become a site of overlapping and competing rights which threaten this potential. This is because two land reform programmes have both targeted the land, namely, the municipal commonage programme and the land restitution programme. This has led to conflicts and mistrust among three land-user organisations representing 1) small-scale farmers leasing the land from the municipality since the early 1990s (the LOBV), 2) ‘backyard’ farmers interested in accessing the land (the LOVV) and 3) land claimants represented by the Loeriesfontein CPA which was granted title to some of the commonage in 2017. A lack of clarity about the status of the land and the responsibilities of various government bodies at national, provincial and local level have added to the tensions and undermined the potential of the municipal commonages to contribute to local livelihoods. The thesis unpacks the history of the land and the organisational dynamics around it as a contribution towards addressing these problems. The conceptual framework used to navigate these issues draws on political ecology as well as understandings of sustainable development and sustainable livelihoods that emphasise the importance of social justice, respecting environmental limits and meeting human needs. The research methodology was qualitative, making use of documentary analysis, archival research, semi-structured interviews and observation. Key findings are that the competing land policies and their ineffective implementation have constrained the potential of the municipal commonages as a resource.

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Page publiée le 18 avril 2022