Seeds of Change in South African Land Distribution

This passed Thursday marked the 100th anniversary of the Natives Land Act, the first major piece of legislated racial segregation in South Africa. The act set aside 7% of South Africa’s land for the black majority while reserving the rest for the country’s white majority. Despite the end of apartheid and racial segregation, the issue of unequal land distribution remains present in South Africa.

The African National Congress (ANC) has been making efforts towards land reform, often referred to as “willing seller, willing buyer”, implying that land will only transfer hands on a basis of will rather than requirement. Since 1994, only a small amount of land has changed hands and the government states that over half of land reform projects have failed.

An election is slated to take place next year, and the 100th anniversary of the Natives Land Act represents the continued existence of inequality in South Africa and an important issue that must be touched upon. This issue is a difficult issue to tackle as South Africa must be careful not to undermine the success of its commercial farming sector. It is clear that there is no simple fix to an issue that was born over a century ago.

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