The Africa Land Policy Center (ALPC), through NELGA, held its first NELGA Knowledge Exchange (NEX) webinar on September 30, 2021. The Webinar, which was hosted by NELGA technical node for Southern Africa, the Institute for Poverty Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape, featured speakers from the region and focused on the sharing case studies on hybrid municipal land governance in South Africa as a route to fixing land administration and structures in South Africa. The Webinar was supported by GIZ’s Strengthening Advisory Capacities for Land Governance in Africa (SLGA) program. It featured diverse participants from across Africa, including Chiefs of stakeholder organisations, academics, land experts, doctoral students, and professionals working in the purview of land governance and administration.
Dr. Joan Kagwanja, Chief of ALPC, expressed her delight to participate at the NEX inaugural Webinar as knowledge gained from such learning spaces makes its way into policy spaces and strengthening institutions where land rights are discussed and promoted leading to the prosperity of the people.
Organised in both English and French, Prof. Andries Du Toit from PLAAS chaired the NEX with presentations from Dr. Gaynor Paradza, a land expert from the public affairs research institute, and Taki Sithagu lecturer at Wits University. In setting the scene, Prof Du Toit explained that it is important to consider technical and political solutions in addressing dysfunctional land systems in South Africa. Considering that to govern the land is to govern the people on the land, Prod Du Toti stated that it is important to institutionalise knowledge that improves land administration for countries such as South Africa with its wide range of land administration systems.
The two presentations delivered in the session focused on South Africa. Dr. Gaynor Paradza insightful presentation shed light on the benefits and problems of land administration, fixing the challenges of land administration, roles of formal and informal institutions, which are municipalities and traditional leaders. According to Dr. Paradza, “a functional land administration system is fundamental to land reform, economic growth and equitable change and pursues widely accepted national land policy goals, plans and strategies. In South Africa, however, these objectives are often discordant or contested.” Dr. Paradza based her presentation on a framework that outlines a joint project among PLAAS, South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) which calls for reforms that focus on innovative and integrated land administration as a means to reconceptualise the institutional domain of land governance and help to overcome the fragmentation that undermines land administration. To emphasis the need for innovative land administration and data management systems, she states that “the people at Google Maps know more about African land data more than land practitioners here in Africa.” (20210907_LandAdminDiagnostic.pdf (nelga.org))
The Webinar also featured a compelling presentation from Taki Situgu titled -Hybrid land administration in rural municipalities (South Africa). This presentation enabled participants to reflect on hybrid land administration as a tool to address land dysfunctions, especially on neo-customary land systems. (Hybrid Land administration (nelga.org))