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Rethinking communal land administration

Unlocking human settlements development in communal land areas

Article image

Housing Development Agency

01 December 2016


Karishma Busgeeth

Research report

Housing Development Agency

South Africa

This report, a summary of the substantial challenges that continue to plague South Africa’s efforts to reform land administration system, proposes that key decision-makers and informers involved in communal land administration undergo a mindshift in thinking. This shift should be from focusing exclusively on transferring communal land to traditional leaders, Common Property Institutions and private individuals, to recognising and accommodating existing forms of social tenure. This can be achieved by introducing a nationally constituted and locally administered land records system that sits alongside and complements the existing land registration system (that involves the Surveyor General’s office and the deeds registration system). The proposed alternatives are based on both practical experience and theoretical insights.


This report was prepared with Afesis-Corplan.


Website References

Community land rights

Customary law

Customary tenure


Human settlements


Land administration

Land tenure

Land tenure systems


Rural areas

Rural housing

South Africa


Tenure security

Value capture

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