The process of land reform in South Africa is a complicated process. Not to mention that land reform is a lengthy process,
involving lots of land issues. South Africa is still in the stage of reform, but we keep on dealing with these issues, certain
that full land reform will eventually take place in South Africa. To explain why South Africa needs land reform we need to
understand the following:
Under the former government, different groups, on the basis of their race, had entirely unequal access to land for
residential and economic purposes. This situation regarding land ownership eventuated in a situation whereby
the majority of previously disadvantaged people were unable to utilize one of their greatest assets - land ownership.
Owning land effectuates, among others, security of tenure, access to credit and marketability. In addition to this
racial fragmentation, in different areas, different laws and systems of tenure applied. Land reform was very necessary.
Before the law allowed land reform, it was impossible for people from the previously disadvantaged group to get registered ownership
rights to land in most parts of the country. This created a severe land shortage and many people established
houses on nominally state-owned land without any formal rights. This phenomenon of displaced urbanization led
to the rise of large informal settlement, lacking any functional autonomy with extreme overcrowding of areas with
Historically, some informal settlement processes may well have been illegal initially but have now gained permanence.
While recognizing that the informal processes is not permission to occupy land illegally, historically illegal acts must
be regularized (recognized as if they had been legal). Rapid and consistent urbanisation, unmatched by sufficient housing,
land and service delivery, entrenched the significance of informal housing and economic opportunities in both the urban
and rural context. It also saw the growing acceptance of the need for security of tenure for people who lived in informal
settlements. The onus is on authorities to act and eviction from the land is not an option. In fact, not regularizing these
settlements entrenches insecurity of tenure and is a breach of the DFA principles. There is an immense amount
of informally held land in South Africa and the constitution has made the right to own land fundamental.
Positive, creative planning in land reform is now more necessary than ever. The current distorted settlement pattern found in many
places will not correct itself automatically, nor will it be addressed by default. The development of more efficient
and enabling settlement systems, is necessary to improve the quality of life in informal settlements. Therefore
the main objective of the land reform projects is to complete all the requirements for the establishment of a township,
which will enable the beneficiaries to take legal possession of erven they have been occupying informally in order to
enable the Local Authority to focus its efforts on the provision of basic household infrastructure in historically