Back to the Plot! Debating a new agenda for rural transformation in South Africa

Date: Monday 31 January 2011
Place: The Centre for the Book in Cape Town
Time: 17h30 for 18h00 until 20h00


  • Prof Andries du Toit (PLAAS) – core issues, questions and argument for a new way forward
  • Annelize Crosby (Agri-SA) – Agri SA's views on rural development and land reform
  • Mazibuko Jara (independent) – view on the place of sustainable agriculture in agricultural policy and agrarian reform
  • Community campaign leader (tbc) – viewpoints and argument from an agrarian reform and rights perspective

The transformation of South Africa’s countryside and agricultural sector has never been higher on the political agenda than now. The ANC's decision ahead of the 2009 elections to make land and rural development one of its five key priorities created high expectations: that land and agrarian reform would receive an injection of bold new thinking, an expanded budget, increased capacity and more effective integration with other government programmes. These have not materialized to date.

Instead, the discourse on the future of South Africa’s rural areas has become more and more bombastic, infused with red herrings and sweeping solutions to imaginary or marginal problems. The core questions of how the rural economy will be transformed, who should get the land, how it will be acquired, what rights they will have to it, and what other support farmers will get to enable them to use it effectively, and to generate a new dynamic of rural development remain to be debated in an earnest and participatory manner. Yes, it is encouraging that government acknowledges that the existing approach has been inadequate, and that new departures are needed, but the space for candid reflection on where we are now, and an open debate on possible alternatives must be seized and shaped in the public arena.

The audience is invited to partake in the discussion.

Land and livelihoods
Land and livelihoods
Posted: 1/26/2011 (10:14:59 AM)

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