Land reform should continue to prioritize forced removals, agricultural and urban vacant land

Afrobarometer’s 2018 survey in South Africa shows that citizens want to prioritize the return of land taken from forced removals since the 1913 Land Act. More than a century later, the country is still struggling to redress this historical injustice and the inequality it continues to foster. Surprisingly, South Africans support keeping the willing seller policy and allowing farmers to keep ownership of land used by tenants. These viewpoints come at a time when the land debate is raging and Parliament has to decide on a proposal to change the Constitution with land expropriation without compensation.

Key findings

  • When asked which type of land the government should prioritize for redistribution, more than eight out of 10 South Africans (84%) state a priority; only one in 20 (5%) say that land should not be redistributed.
  • The most frequently cited priority for land redistribution is land taken away during the government’s forcible removals of black South Africans, followed by agricultural land and urban vacant land.
  • A slim majority (53%) of citizens say the government should maintain its “willing seller-willing buyer” policy in acquiring property, including paying the seller. Only 26% disagree.