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Webinar: Land reform and the art of government: The role and capacity of the state

Thursday, 30 July 2020 at 13:00 (CAT)

Join PLAAS for a webinar where we discuss the central place of the art of government in land reform and in rural development more broadly. Our guests are Dr Mbongiseni Buthelezi, director of the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) and Prof Michael Aliber, from the University of Fort Hare’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension.

Discussions of land reform and rural development have for twenty years been unproductively polarized between those who see land reform as something best left to the free market and those who insist on the central role of the state, most notably and controversially in the demand for land expropriation without compensation.

In this discussion, we seek to push beyond this simplistic opposition. We discuss why land reform, even when it makes use of market mechanisms, relies on a capable state and the arts of government.  We explore realities of limited capacity and dysfunctionality—and we explore how (and whether) it is possible to create islands of effectiveness and nodes of functionality even in this constrained context. 

Questions for discussion include:

  1. What can we learn from the last twenty years’ experience of state capacity and government functioning in land reform and rural development?
  2. What is the institutional legacy of Apartheid’s history of rural development, and what are the challenges it poses for the art of government in South Africa’s rural areas? 
  3. What can be done to build a more effective, coherent and capable state that can include rural citizens and support pro-poor land reform?

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