Highlights NL August / September 2016


On 21 April 2016, thanks to consistent generous support from our donors, the Rural Women’s Action Research Programme (RWAR) of the Centre for Law and Society (CLS) officially graduated into a stand-alone research centre known as the Land and Accountability Research Centre (LARC), enabling us to expand our areas of work and grow our staff. We hosted a joint launch event at UCT with Ndifuna Ukwazi, where we also launched the Rural Land Justice edition of the People’s Law Journal.

2-3 FEBRUARY 2016

TKLB Presentation

In September 2015 the the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Bill was introduced into Parliament. It will repeal the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act of 2003, setting out definitions, the recognition and composition requirements for traditional structures, and the roles of traditional leaders. The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs invited LARC to a stakeholder engagement on 2 and 3 February 2016, where LARC made a submission outlining our concerns with the bill. 

Land Presentation

The Land Portfolio Committee invited LARC to make a presentation on Communal Land Tenure, Traditional Authorities, Spatial Planning and Land Use Management at its Strategic Planning Workshop. The presentation discussed the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act of 1996 (IPILRA), and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s failure to enforce the Act. It also discussed problems with the implementation of the Ingonyama Trust Act.


Aninka Claassens, LARC’s director, was appointed to be a member of the High Level Panel, appointed by the Speakers of Parliament to review the impact of key legislation – including land reform legislation – for gaps and unintended consequences. The Panel is headed by former President Kgalema Motlanthe, and will make recommendations regarding the repeal, amendment and enactment of laws that exacerbate poverty and inequality, and contribute to social exclusion.


In May 2016 LARC, in collaboration with the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) (UWC) and the department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Stellenbosch, hosted a series of events that were organized to coincide with the visits of two eminent international scholars: Prof Sara Berry, Emeritus History Professor at Johns Hopkins University, USA, and Professor Kojo Amanor, Professor at the Institute of African Studies from the University of Ghana, Accra. 

Contested Histories II

LARC organised a two day workshop – Contested Histories II – as follow-up to Contested Histories I which was convened by the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at Wits in 2015. It brought together historians, anthropologists, lawyers and researchers from South Africa and abroad to discuss possible legal, political, and discursive tools that can be used to challenge the proposed transfer of ‘state land’ in the former homelands to chiefs, instead of the rural citizens to whom it belongs. LARC will convene a follow-up workshop to home in on key issues that arose.


LARC recently participated in two of South Africa’s most popular debate and discussion programmes: The Big Debate and Judge for Yourself with Judge Dennis Davis. In early August the Big Debate invited LARC’s Deputy Director, Nolundi Luwaya, to be part of a conversation focussing on Women’s rights and culture in the context of increasingly conservative interpretations of custom and customary laws. Most recently, Nolundi was a guest on Judge for Yourself hosted by Judge Dennis Davis. This discussion centred around investigations into the mismanagement of funds due to the Bapo ba Mogale as a mine hosting community.