Untitled: Securing Land Tenure in Urban and Rural South Africa

Front Cover
Donna Hornby, Rosalie Kingwill, Ben Cousins, Lauren Royston
University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2017 - Customary law - 462 pages
A title deed = tenure security. Or does it? This book challenges this simple equation and its apparently self-evident assumptions. It argues that two very different property paradigms characterize South Africa. The first is the dominant paradigm of private property, referred to as an 'edifice, ' against which all other property regimes are measured and ranked. However, the majority of South Africans gain access to land and housing through very different processes, which this book calls social or off-register tenures. These tenures are poorly understood, a gap Untitled aims to address. Untitled reveals that 'informal' and customary property systems can be well organized, often providing substantial tenure security, but lack official recognition and support. This makes them difficult to service and vulnerable to elite capture. Policy interventions usually aim to formalize these arrangements by issuing title deeds. The case studies in this book, which span both rural and urban contexts in South Africa, examine these interventions and the unintended consequences they often give rise to. Interventions based on an understanding of locally embedded property relations are more likely to succeed than those that attempt to transform them into registered tenures. However, emerging practices hit intractable obstacles associated with the 'edifice, ' which only a substantial transformation of the legal paradigms can overcome. [Subject: African Studies, Property Right

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About the author (2017)

Donna Hornby is an independent critical researcher for non-governmental organisations on rural land, tenure and agricultural issues.

Rosalie Kingwill is an independent policy and academic researcher specialising in land tenure and property rights.

Lauren Royston is a development planner and researcher who works on tenure security in southern Africa with a range of organisations.

Ben Cousins holds a DST/NRF chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape.

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