Title page for ETD etd-09152008-130602

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Buthelezi, Nonhlanhla Bongiwe Charity
URN etd-09152008-130602
Document Title The impact of the land restitution programme on poverty
Degree MSD
Department Social Work and Criminology
Advisor Name Title
Prof A Lombard Supervisor
  • claimants
  • poverty alleviation framework
  • programme
  • programme evaluation
  • subjective impacts
  • indicators of success
  • impacts
  • land reform programme
  • land restitution programme
  • objective impacts
  • evaluation
  • assessment
  • restitution
  • beneficiaries
Date 2008-04-21
Availability unrestricted

The state of poverty in South Africa dictates how social policies should intervene to make an impact on poverty alleviation. Government formulated the three pillars of Land Reform Programme i.e. the Land Restitution Programme, Land Redistribution Programme and the Security of Tenure Programme. The Land Restitution Programme was utilised, through which people were given the opportunity to choose their preferred option ranging from original land, alternative land, financial compensation and involvement in development projects. The Programme aimed to reduce the unequal distribution of land amongst the racial groups of South Africa and alleviating poverty.

During the process of land restitution the subjective impacts were debated more than the objective impacts, which were exacerbated by the experience of Zimbabwe as one of South Africa’s neighbouring countries. To date, little empirical evidence exists concerning the actual objective and subjective impact of the Land Restitution Programme. The aim of the study was to evaluate the objective and subjective impacts of the Land Restitution Programme on poverty. A quantitative research approach was used to conduct an impact evaluation study. Data was gathered by means of self-administered questionnaires. Respondents included land restitution applicants, namely: the claimants who were dismissed because they did not meet the acceptance criteria, the claimants who rejected the offer of financial compensation and the claimants who accepted the land restitution offer of financial compensation and eventually became the beneficiaries of the Land Restitution Programme.

The research findings revealed that the Land Restitution Programme has both objective and subjective impacts on poverty. The subjective and objective impacts have both positive and negative impacts. The positive objective impacts were revealed to include the improvement in the aspects of quality of life as individuals and as communities, reconciliation at an individual, family and community level, and personal development such as improvement in community participation, empowerment and capacity building. The line, however, between the subjective and objective impacts was found to be very thin. The greatest impacts were amongst the accepted land restitution claimants and the least impact was amongst the dismissed and refused claimants in comparison with the accepted land restitution beneficiaries. The findings confirmed the hypothesis of the study, namely that if the poorest of the poor beneficiaries receive the land restitution compensation their levels of poverty decreases, compared to those that are refused or dismissed for land restitution compensation. The study revealed that the negative impact of the Land Restitution Programme is on its ability to acquire title to land. The claimants and beneficiaries of the Land Restitution Programme still regarded the programme as effective even though it has challenges in terms of addressing poverty alleviation.

The study concluded that the Land Restitution Programme should be implemented within a Framework for Poverty Alleviation. Such a framework needs to go beyond the legalistic framework that is provided by the Land Restitution Act no 22 of 1994 which currently do not address approaches to poverty alleviation, strategies for alleviating poverty and aspects of quality of life that are measurable. The study recommended the implementation of a Land Restitution Programme Framework for Poverty Alleviation, which include elements of measuring poverty and aspects of quality of life and poverty alleviation approaches such as the livelihood approach, asset vulnerability approach, compulsory asset redistribution approach, and social development strategies. It is further recommended that the Land Restitution Programme Framework for Poverty Alleviation should be informed by the voices of the poor, professionals and international donor communities in order to comprehensively make an impact in graduating the poor from being poverty stricken to being self sufficient and self reliant.

© University of Pretoria 2007


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