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Land Restitution and Democratic Citizenship in South Africa

Mark Everingham and Crystal Jannecke
Journal of Southern African Studies
Vol. 32, No. 3 (Sep., 2006), pp. 545-562
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25065122
Page Count: 18
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Land Restitution and Democratic Citizenship in South Africa
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Abstract

Democratisation in South Africa empowered racial, religious, and linguistic groupings and indigenous peoples with the right to land restitution. The main purpose of this article is to evaluate the implications of communal property ownership for the restoration of land rights and the exercise of democratic citizenship. Has restored land in communal form enabled returnee members of dispossessed communities to receive justice for past abuses and to enjoy the benefits of property ownership? The new government's approach to communal restitution produced satisfactory legal results, but perpetuated perceptions of unified communities. Fieldwork illustrates how contemporary communal arrangements affected Elandskloof of the Cedarberg in the Western Cape, the Tsitsikamma Mfengu and the village of Clarkson in the Eastern Cape, and the Richtersveld in the Northern Cape. These cases magnify similarities and differences in the reconstitution of community and the outcomes of restoration of land beyond the legal transfer of ownership in post-apartheid South Africa. South Africa's institutional framework for land restitution provides a comparative lens through which to view how other new democracies grappled with the extension of citizenship and the definition of property rights in the 1990s into the 21st century.

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