Land allocation, boundary demarcation and tenure security in tribal areas of South Africa

Simon Antony Hull, Tshepiso Sehume, Sibonakaliso Sibiya, Lusanda Sothafile, Jennifer Whittal


This study investigates land allocation processes, boundary demarcation, and associated land tenure security in tribal areas of South Africa. The research design is that of a descriptive multiple-case study to interrogate indigenous knowledge in this area. Four themes related to customary land allocation processes in South Africa have emerged from the data: Applicant, Authority, Acceptance and Allocation. These themes are used as the basis for comparison across the cases. The case studies are also used to test a published conceptual model of land tenure security. The results suggest that tenure in the study areas is secure overall. The study concludes that the processes of land administration and the systems used to demarcate boundaries are (mostly) suitable to protect land rights and thus provide security of land tenure. Also the tested conceptual model of land tenure security can be used to indicate the state of tenure security for a particular case, though improvements are suggested.


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