Women, Land and Power: The Impact of the Communal Land Rights Act


Claassens, Aninka, and Sizani Ngubane. 2008. “Women, Land and Power: The Impact of the Communal Land Rights Act.” In Land, Power and Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa's Communal Land Rights Act, edited by  Aninka Classens and Ben Cousins, 154-183. Cape Town, South Africa: UCT Press.

Authors: Aninka Claassens, Sizani Ngubane


"This chapter examines the likely impact of the Communal Land Rights Act 11 of 2004 on rural women in South Africa. It is based on research undertaken by the authors in the context of the legal challenge1 to the Act. The Act deals with the content and vesting of land rights as well as the powers and functions of the structures that will administer 'communal' land. The chapter looks at the interplay between land rights and power over land. The discussion begins with a description of some of the problems facing rural women in the former homeland areas covered by the Act. It then describes issues raised by women's organisations in late 2003 during the parliamentary process leading to the passing of the Communal Land Rights Bill. There were two main objections to the Bill. The first was that entrenching the power of traditional leaders over land was likely to reinforce patriarchal power relations and harden the terrain within which women struggle to access and retain land. The second was that the Bill would entrench past discrimination against women by upgrading and formalising 'old order' rights held exclusively by men" (Claasens & Ngubane 2008, 154).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Patriarchy, Governance, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2008

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