Nelson Mandela Foundation

Land has been one of the most contentious issues in the South African political arena.

Long abused as an economic and political tool, land also has a social and spiritual dimension that is often disregarded. Political parties have used land policies to entrench and broaden their loci of power or have used the failure of land reform as an example of entrenched neo-liberalism, white supremacy and constitutional weakness.

Moreover, issues of land governance have been further complicated by the discovery of mineral resources in many former Bantustans which rely on systems of traditional leadership.

Thus, those who seek economic deals in these areas now have to engage with a number of new stakeholders, including traditional leaders as the stakes and potential profits grow exponentially.  

Thus an uneasy, unequal and often violent situation exists in much of rural South Africa and, with this in mind, the Nelson Mandela Foundation hosted a closed roundtable discussion to enable high-level dialogue. Participants from civil society, academia and business engaged on both the problems and possible solutions to some pressing concerns. A number of op-eds were commissioned to inform and to continue the discussions.

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