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Dispossession and Access to Land in South Africa. An African Perspective

An African Perspective

Michael Akomaye Yanou

Publication Year: 2009

This book deals with the conceptualization of access to land by the dispossessed in South Africa as a human right. Yanou examines the country's property model in the context of the post apartheid constitutional mandate to redress the skewed land distribution of the past. The book reviews the strengths and weaknesses of the land restitution process as well as the question of the payment of just and equitable compensation for land expropriated for restitution. It also reviews the phenomenon of land invasion and quality of access to land enjoyed by the South African black woman under the present dispensation. Yanou argues that the courts have, on occasions, construed just and equitable compensation generously. This approach has failed to reflect the fact that what is being paid for is land dispossessed from the forebears of indigenous inhabitants. In a South Africa that lost most of its ancestral land during colonialism and apartheid, access to land for the dispossessed should not be equated with the protection of property acquired under apartheid. Getting it right would entail truth and reconciliation with the collective dispossession suffered by South African blacks.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

A new book on land law in the new constitutional dispensation in South Africa from an African perspective is to be welcomed. The book consists of 8 chapters and is 140 pages in length.
Dr Yanou has based his book on material submitted for his doctoral...

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Chapter One - Land: history and perspectives

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pp. 1-8

Land is a vital resource whose ownership and control have been the most contentious issue in South Africa since the arrival of the white man in the country. The early history of the country can, with some justification, be summed up as a gigantic struggle for land between the indigenous African peoples and white...

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Chapter Two - Land dispossession

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pp. 9-22

Dispossession is a key feature of South African history, which in the opinion of (Lahiff 2004: 1) continues to shape the discourse on land holding and use. The country’s legacy of dispossession resulted from centuries of the forced removal of blacks from the land through external colonialism which took different forms and racially discriminatory laws...

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Chapter Three - Land rights as human rights

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pp. 23-32

Gray (2002: 211) who posits that land law and human rights are not natural bedfellows has identified some reasons for their apparent differences. Firstly, he states that human rights are based on the idea of the intrinsic worth or dignity of the individual. For Gray, because human rights stress concern for the other person, it is antithetical to popular ideas...

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Chapter Four - The constitutional property clause Property in the interim constitution

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pp. 33-48

The interim constitution that became operational in April 1994 officially introduced democratic governance, a bill of rights and other guarantees. Section 28 of this constitution was novel in so far as it made reference to rights in property, thereby heralding a new land regime in the country. However, this new land normative structure could, when seen...

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Chapter Five - Accessing land in post-apartheid South Africa

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pp. 49-66

The government’s policy on land was defined in the reconstruction plan as involving the strategies of the redistribution of both residential and agricultural land to those who need it but cannot afford it, and restitution for those who lost land as a consequence of past discriminatory...

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Chapter Six - Compensation

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pp. 67-76

Section 25 (2) provides for the expropriation of land for public purpose subject to the payment of just and equitable compensation. There was consensus across the political spectrum that expropriation of the new land owners was dictated by the forced removal of blacks from their ancestral land. Binswanger (1996: 139) noted that this was not the...

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Chapter Seven - Land redistribution

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pp. 77-90

The land redistribution policy received final constitutional expression in Section 25 (4) (a) and Section 25 (5) of the 1996 Constitution. Both provisions view the redistribution policy as relating to the creation of conditions that would enable citizens to gain access to land on an equitable basis. For Van der Walt (1999: 342), these provisions prioritize...

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Chapter Eight - Conclusion and recommendations

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pp. 91-100

This study has examined the crucial issue of the dispossession of Africans of their ancestral land in South Africa. It has evaluated the country’s post-apartheid property structure from the perspective of determining the extent to which the injustices of...


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pp. 101-110


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pp. 111-131

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956715879
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956558766

Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2009