Successful land reform? A critical analysis of the Harmony Trust Land Reform Project, Koue Bokkeveld, Western Cape
Land reform can be an effective vehicle for addressing poverty and landlessness, especially in rural areas where these are prevailing conditions. For land reform to succeed, the land must be used in ways that contributes to improving the livelihoods of land beneficiaries. The literature over the past 2 decades largely focuses on the failure of land reform in South Africa. Little is known about the 10% of successful projects that exist. The argument of this research project is that it is equally important to analyse how successful land reform projects have redressed racial imbalances in land, reduced poverty, improved livelihoods, developed the agricultural sector to create jobs, and ensured food security. It is essential for the well-being of the country to find successful land reform models to implement. By critically evaluating successful land reform projects, important insights and lessons in building a more effective land reform and rural development programme in South Africa may be offered. The focus of the research is on the redistributive component of land reform, specifically the successful redistribution of agricultural land to improve the livelihoods of the rural poor. The research critically analyses the successful Harmony Trust land reform project located in the Koue Bokkeveld region in the Western Cape Province. The Harmony Trust project is a share equity project and farms profitably in a joint venture with a commercial partner, who also serves as the mentor. Livelihoods of the land reform beneficiaries have improved; for example, the beneficiaries were empowered, redistribution of benefits took place, and living and working conditions have improved.