Land Redistribution aims to provide the poor with residential and productive land. It started with a two-year pilot exercise to devise, test and demonstrate arrangements for a national programme, which began in 1997. The legal instrument to allocate a government subsidy to ‘qualifying persons’ for rural land, housing and infrastructure is the Provision of Certain Land for Settlement Act, 126 of 1993, previously introduced by the National Party. The Act, amended and renamed in 1998, had provided some 700,000 hectares to over 55,000 households by the end of 1999. Major outstanding issues are: who should qualify; the extent to which government should intervene in a ‘market-based’ and ‘demand-led'’ process; and the
coordination of government agencies in the planning and implementation of land redistribution projects.
In terms of the RDP policy framework, South Africa’s land reform programme has failed to meet expectations. It has faced serious fiscal constraints, receiving less than 0.4 per cent of the government budget, over the financial years 1994/5-1998/9. Under the Constitution, landowners are entitled to market-related compensation. The Constitution also sets out responsibilities for land reform, which are not easily coordinated. While the national government is responsible for land acquisition, the provincial and local spheres are meant to provide services for settlement and agriculture. Constraints have arisen from the weak organisation of rural people and the lack of capacity of governmental agencies, whose personnel lack experience and training.