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Webinar: Equitable access to land: Constraints and proposals for the future

Thursday, 17 September 2020 from 13:00–14:00 (CAT)

Join PLAAS for a webinar on “Equitable access to land: Constraints and proposals for the future.

The webinar will feature:

The webinar will be chaired by Dr Farai Mtero, senior researcher at PLAAS.

Urban land activists and their allies recently won a significant victory in the Tafelberg case in the Western Cape High Court, with implications for landless and homeless people around the country. After five years of struggle, the court told the state that it has been violating people’s right to ‘equitable’ access to land by selling off public land that could be used for housing for the homeless. The judgement challenges spatial inequality of apartheid cities, and affirms that public land must be used to promote integrated cities and access to adequate housing (Section 26 of the Constitution). But the court went further, and confirmed that not only the right to housing had been violated, but also the right to land. Section 25(5) in the ‘property clause’ says that all citizens have a right of “access to land on an equitable basis”, but this right has arguably not been realised in practice, in either urban or rural areas. Two official land reform reports – Parliament’s High-Level Panel (2017) and the Presidential Advisory Panel (2019) – show that this constitutional right has not been adequately translated into law, policy or practice. In agricultural land reform, there has been a rise in elite capture while the poor social groups remain underrepresented as beneficiaries. Other court judgments affecting labour tenants (Mwelase) and land redistribution (Rakgase) show longstanding administrative failures to broaden access to rural land. Covid-19 has aggravated the urban land question, with evictions spiking while public land is leased out or sold. This webinar builds on previous conversations about linking urban and rural land struggles, and researchers and activists. In this webinar, the speakers will focus on how to give effect to the constitutional principle of ‘equitable’ access to land: what are the next steps to build on the Tafelberg case, beyond stopping the state from selling off land, to making it available to the landless and homeless.

The webinar will explore these questions:

  1. What did the Tafelberg judgement say about what the state can and cannot do with its land? 
  2. What does this mean for the idea that access to land for housing and for other purposes must be ‘equitable’? What does equity mean?
  3. What must be done so that ordinary citizens can activate and enforce this right?
  4. What next steps can be taken to build on this momentum and shift debate beyond abstract land reform as an empty political promise to an enforceable right of equitable access to land in the cities and countryside?

Tune in on Thursday, 17 September 2020 at:

  • 11:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
  • 12:00 West Africa Time (WAT)
  • 13:00 Central Africa Time (CAT)
  • 14:00 East Africa Time (EAT)

Watch the webinar here: Or click below to view it.