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Beyond populism or paralysis: Engaging civil society in policy dialogue about the Green Paper on Land Reform and Rural Development


After more than two years of vacillation and evasion since President Zuma announced the need for a new policy framework on land reform and rural development, the Ministry produced a Green Paper that provides almost no guidance on any of the crucial questions facing land and agrarian reform in South Africa. For land reform to succeed, South Africans must engage robustly to find answers to the pressing policy issues facing the nation. Minister Nkwinti has failed to facilitate such a dialogue and public participation in land reform and rural development policy making have been weak. Despite the department's failings, PLAAS called for a constructive national dialogue about the future of the rural areas, and the role of land reform in this crucial process.
As a contribution to this process PLAAS  hosted a public dialogue with key stakeholders from rural civil society, academia and the private sector to formulate proposals for a new White Paper on Land Reform and examine South Africa’s land reform trajectory. The aim of the session was to engage in informed and constructive dialogue around the issues concerning land reform and rural development with an immediate objective to work towards alternative proposals for a new legislative framework on Land Reform in South Africa. One outcome that emerged was to mobilise a network of actors at different levels of the rural sector, to share information and discuss, develop and advocate through an inclusive and transparent process, alternative proposals for a new policy framework for Land Reform in South Africa; another was the launch of UmhlabaNet - initially with those who were part of the dialogue, but now growing to include more interested participants. You can find out more about the workshop in the Summary Report on the Public Dialogue: ‘Beyond populism or paralysis: a real debate on South Africa’s land reform trajectory’.