Restructuring should be added as a fourth ’R’ to governments land reform programme, that presently includes land Restitution, land Redistribution and land tenure Reform. This was a suggestion by Ronald Eglin from Afesis-corplan at an Urban Land Dialogue organised by the South African Cities Network (SACN) and the Fort Hare Institute of Socio Economic Research (FHISER) of the University of Fort Hare on 9 October 2015 in East London.

The purpose of the dialogue was to

  • Encourage open and nuanced dialogue on urban land that can practically contribute toward achieving spatial transformation within cities.
  • Through dialogue and engagement assist city governments to better understand how to respond more effectively to urban land transformation through practice.

Dr Nomalanga Mkhize and Stacey Leigh-Joseph (on behalf Mercy Brown-Luthango) gave presentations on ‘the policy of urban land ownership’ and ‘Rethinking urban land value in SA cities’ respectively, two papers from a recently launched SACN publication on “The Urban Land Paper Series volume 1” that can be found on this link.

Ronald Eglin and Andile Mngxitama were respondents to these presentations. Restitution involves giving people back disposed land or similar monetary contribution, land Redistribution involves transferring land from whites to blacks while tenure Reform involves securing existing tenure tights for people in communal and other areas. Settlement Restructuring, Ronald explained, would involve, amongst other things, transforming the spatial landscape of our settlements from one where people are living far from urban opportunities to one where they are living closer to these opportunities; and from low density settlements to higher density settlements. Ronald further suggested that in an urban context, far more attention needs to be given, as part of redistribution, to increasing the number of people with access to land on which to live through improving the land assembly, planning and development process for human settlements; but emphasised that in the spirit of spatial restructuring this land cannot just be any land – as often happened in the past – but needs to be ‘good’ well located land.

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