Welcome to PLAAS

PLAAS is widely considered to be the leading research body in Southern Africa in relation to issues of land, natural resource management and rural development. It is a university-based research institute established in 1995 at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), and has an impressive track record of high quality research, teaching, and policy engagement over the past two decades. Its research findings are widely cited, both locally and globally, and its senior researchers have played an influential role in many policy processes in the post-apartheid period. PLAAS offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Land and Agrarian Studies, as well as research-based Masters and PhD degrees, and attracts students from across Africa. Many PLAAS alumni occupy important positions in government, both locally and in neighbouring states. Key to the success of PLAAS is its insistence on independent, rigorous and critical research, which provides a strong evidence base for policy advocacy and informs its teaching programme.

Research Areas


Our research covers diverse areas, ranging from land and tenure reform,  land investment and agro-food restructuring, fisheries and ecosystem management, to social protection and informal self employment. In all this work, our key focus is on the causes and dynamics of inequality and structural poverty, on the economic and social agency of poor...

Latest Publication

Working Paper 56: Mining, Capital and Dispossession in Limpopo, South Africa

This Working Paper explains the processes by which land, water and other natural resources were seized, and their previous users dispossessed, for the purposes of capital accumulation by Ivanplats platinum mining company in Limpopo, South Africa. The mining firm largely acquired land through non-voluntary mechanisms...

Events / News

We are hiring: Communications Officer

COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER (2-year contract position) Are you a Communications guru? Are you a creative and innovative ideas person? Are you passionate about helping to disseminate academic research...

More News

Land reform is at a crossroads

1 Feb, Daily Maverick

The Pan South African Language Board declared “land expropriation without compensation” as the Word of the Year 2018, reflecting its salience in the media and the term that captures the philosophy, mood and obsessions of our nation. Land is part of our zeitgeist. Everyone is debating it. Everyone has an...