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Question:

Compare Ethiopian land reform law critically to South African land reform law.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

The present report deals with the comparison of Ethiopian law with South African land reform law for assessing both of them in a critical manner. The report initiates with a basic background of both the laws for developing an appropriate base. An overview of most high-flying legislation which specifies the overall content for the policy of racially – based bifurcation of land. Further, the discussion relating to the measures, policies and steps which have been taken for abolishing these racially based laws has been provided in detail. Extreme inventive and pro- poor laws have been accepted by African Countries, though they lack in implementing the same in an effective manner[1]. Ethiopia had provided certificates relating to land for over twenty million plots, but the same was not succeeding in term of cost. Though, the same if assessed on the term of other grounds such as not biased against poor for increasing the sustainability and effectiveness of same. Lastly, the main objective of this report is to provide a comparison of both the law so that the transformations and resemblances between them can be understood in an appropriate manner.

Background

Land reform is not only another social relocate of through which citizen receives government largesse. The projects relating to land reform should be appropriately related to the vulnerability present in the society and proper development of resources for enhancing the aptitude of existing autonomy[2]. In 1913, Land Act was presented in South Africa through which development of new farming operation was disallowed, and the same provision comprises which denies sharecropping or cash rentals by black outside the available reserves. In the year 1991, after a long struggle by African National Congress revoke various apartheid rules relating to Native Land Act, Population Registration Act. The main emphasis was made through these measures that no one could claim right to land on the basis of race[3].

 


On the other aspect, the northern region of Ethiopia communal system in the form of ownership was available as racist. In accordance of same, an individual owner was entitled to share and utilise the plot of land available with family. Further, it was not allowed to sell off the piece of land by the user to a person outside the family for a mortgage or as a gift. As the piece of land was available to the group and not to an individual person. In initiating years of 1950, an attempt was made by the government to develop the agriculture land through the availability of large tracts of grazing land to big corporations so that the same could be converted into commercial farms[4]. The attempt was not succeeded due to the insecurity of tenure and payment of high rents which killed the peasant’s incentives relating to improvement of production.

Provision And Laws Of Ethiopia And South African Land Reform Legislation:

In 1984 Worker’s Party of Ethiopia was developed by Congress with the aim of accomplishing the requirement relating coordinated socialist principles with a base of enhancing agricultural development.  During the years between 1978 to 1981, a series of proclamations and directives were issued for the formation of service cooperatives and producer’s cooperatives. The producer’s cooperatives alleviated the shortage of inputs and the issues relating to the development of landholdings. The powers and function relating to Federal and Regional Government have been specified in FDRE Constitution. Thus, the power relating to the application of the law for the purpose of utilisation and conservation of land and other natural resources have been provided under the constitution by Federal Government. On the contrary, the new generation of land policies in Africa specifies innovation in comparison to it predecessors. The initial democratic government was established in the country devastated through extensive levels of poverty, worsening unemployment problem and extreme inequalities of income.

In 1994, RDP was introduced with an objective of removing the legacies relating to the distribution of land on the basis of race. The main areas on which the same focused comprised restitution, land reform and land redistribution. An effort was made by the government to purchase the land from individual and provide the same back to the willing buyer in order to continue public confidence in the land market. Though, it was a tough task for implementing the same as it was noticed by many of the owners that a large quantum of land which was bought was not relating to the decision made at the beginning of purchase and negotiation. But, in Ethiopia, a variety of constitutions enshrine the major principles relating to land relation and the same were further implemented by legislation[5].

Land tenure in South Africa is usually specified as either customary or statutory. In the case of customary, it is mainly specified as majorly unwritten nature on the basis of local practices and norms and is negotiable, flexible and area specific. Further, the principles of same are organised through first clearance of land which involves village chief and traditional rulers for finalisation of same. The major characteristic of the feature is that the system is not static and the same is affected by diverse factors such as cultural interactions, political progress, etc. on a continuing basis. Another system i.e. statutory is based on the available regulations and laws, on the basis of decision and judgement of judicial. In this system, the rights relating to land are allocated through the issuance of titles or another method of registration of membership. A major change has been observed in customary law both contract form as well as interference of government in independence. It was observed that a variety of customary, statutory and hybrid institutions and regulations existed in the same territory but no hierarchy in same was available in the structures which created confusion and foster which tenures insecurity. Lastly, the institutional channel was accepted by the parties relating to land issues for resolving the same as it was felt to be likely more favourable comparatively.

New Wave Of Land Tenure Reforms In Africa And Ethiopia

The new generation of land policies presents important innovation in comparison to its predecessors. The initiate of same can be said with registrable or protected rights i.e. efficient attempt has been made to include all the land right in the records. Even customary land rights have been protected which were not available in systematic land registration and title programmes of past[6]. The same provisions have been provided in section 13 (2) of the land act. Another change was observed relating to right holder titles i.e. the titles were issued not only to individuals but jointly to their families.

The issuance of land titles to the communities was provided in Mozambique’s land Law 1997.[7] Even the responsibilities relating to registration of land titling have been provided to decentralised bodies such as District Land Boards, Communal Boards, etc. Further, the state control over land remained as trusteeship or ownership in Africa but allowed and promoted land transfer for empowering the land rights of foreign investors. An Even attempt was made to increase the tenure relating to the security of African farmers with the registration of proprietary and relating rights.  The interim protection land right act 1997 was established in order to protect the farmers from eviction pending from far-reach legislation.

 


On the contrary, in Ethiopia, a major form of tenure was guilt in which the ownership rights were acquired from the monarch who were authorised to make land grants. The owners received tribute from the owner till 1966, and after that, the rights relating to same were contradicted[8]. Further, in 1976, farmers were motivated by the government for forming cooperatives between 1978 and 1981. For making the same effect in an efficient manner a series of proclamation and directives outlining the procedure relating to formation and management of producer’s cooperatives. The main emphasis was made that farmers could easily alleviate the shortage relating to input and associate the problems relating to fragmentation of land holdings. In 1985, the government started a new relocation program which was specified as “villagization”. 8 aim of the program was to group scattered communities throughout the country into small villages. Through making efficient efforts, the government succeeded in relocating approximately 13 million people till the year 1989.

From above analysis of both the provision of land reform, it can be concluded that government, as well as appropriate authorities, were efficiently making efforts to remove the evils and weakness from the existing system. The same effort was made so that people can live an easy and happy life[9]. However, the methods applied by them were quite different from each other. As in the case of Africa, they a variety of land laws were established from time to time so that the land does not get allocated on the basis of racism. On the other hand, in Ethiopia emphasised on resolving issues relating to land through development of corporations and villagization. Though, it is a fact that the method applied was criticised and lack of sources doomed the plan to failure. In Africa, practices focused on land tenure society and the same was developed at field level[10]. Even these practises were recognised by policies and laws.  A high amount issues were also dealt by the farmers relating to land titling and African farmer resorted to informal for accessing the security relating to land rights.  The methods applied in Africa were far better comparatively as granting them clearer legal backing and disseminating contract models. By applying the same with essential clauses, they were succeeded in increasing their effectiveness.

Present Position Regarding Ownership

The South African government made efficient efforts for removing inequalities, and injustices practices applied in the past and initiated comprehensive land reforms. The specified constitutes mainly three pillars i.e. restitution; land redistribution and tenure security. It has been stated in section 25 (7) of Constitution than: “A person or community dispossessed property or land after 19th June 1912 due to the past racially discriminatory law is entitled  to the extent specified by the Act of Parliament so that the same could be equitable redressed.” Further section 25(6) provides legal security or comparable redress to persons whose existing land is insecure due to past racial discriminatory law and provisions. 

The White Paper on Land Policy was the outcome of an extensive process of public consultation. It provides details relating to general information as well as detailed information on state financial assistance programme which will assist maximum people to own land. A major emphasis has been made on translating government’s commitment to social justice and alleviation of property and legislation procedures relating to land development[11]. The Bill of Rights in Act guarantees existing property rights as well as places the state under a constitutional obligation for taking appropriate steps so that the citizens can easily gain the equitable access to land and promote the security of tenure to those who were disposed of property after 19th June 1913 due to past discriminatory laws[12].

On the contrary, no such independence regarding property ownership is available in Ethiopia. As when one assesses the land ownership; land belongs to the state and people are not allowed to sale and exchange on an independent basis. The observance of the situation depicts that is pointless to classify the land paradigms in Ethiopia from independent ownership perspectives[13]. The details regarding private plots have been not appropriately provided, but it has been assessed that it had been made available for the purpose for farming and housing in Highlands. In an urban area, rights are available to acquire land through lease or government grant, and the same is deemed as private possession.

 


The scenario is completely dissimilar in the case of South Africa, as the government has taken efficient efforts and steps to heal the wounds relating to discriminatory policies of past in an ordered manner. In any situation, rather than considerably succeeding in restitution the grossly inequitable distribution of ownership can only be majorly transformed through redistribution. It has been provided in section 25 (5) of the Constitution which specifies “Reasonable legislative and other measures should be taken within available resources to enable citizens to acquire land on an equitable basis.” The implications for land holding are available for both citizens as well as non-citizens[14]. Further, these proposal policies have not been for shredding the freehold rights in land. It has been specified that in accordance with national political direction, some countries do not accommodate private land ownership; thus the same would be precluded as foreigners from land ownership and the distinction on same is not based on nationality considerations[15]. In summarised way, it can be said that South Africa continues to exercise freehold rights over land and ensure the protection of prime and unique agriculture land.

Expropriation

In South Africa, it means to withdraw the owner of the property from the public use of the property. It has been specified in section 25 of South Africa’s Constitutions that government can take property from its owner to achieve land reform or due to any other reason relating to public interest[16]. Further, it has also been specified in the same section that the owner of the property is having the right to receive just and equitable compensation for the property that has been withdrawn. The amount of consideration which is to be paid is calculated in accordance with the manner as the same would have received in case the property would have been sold in open market to a willing buyer[17].

In Ethiopia, expropriation has the same meaning. The FDRE constitution of Ethiopia specifies that in the event of expropriation of land for the purpose of public activities , holder of the property will have right to receive compensation on a fair basis. Presently, a large amount of land has been expropriated for road expansion, redevelopment and other public use. In case the property has no value than the same is measured on the basis of replacement cost[18]. It is being criticised that the practices followed for the purpose of evaluating compensation does not reflect fair market value  and does not provide constitutional guarantee relating to land rights.

 

Conclusion

An elaborate examination relating to the manner of distribution of land, title registration and ownership rights relating to South Africa and Ethiopia has been provided in above report. Thus, the same depicts that inequality in the distribution of land and existence of inappropriate ownership right is comparatively higher in Ethiopia. It has also been observed that presently South Africa has skewed land ownership majorly and disadvantage which was faced due to same reason was they do not own excessive agriculture land.  The same issues were resolved by RDP and White Paper on South African Land Policy, 1997 and the same were finally endorsed by the Constitution. The challenges and obstacles which were experienced in the past represent that there are no silver bullets to resolve post-colonial land queries. Further, application of the appropriate system is necessary for resolving and addressing challenges such land reform and the same is reflected in above report.

 

Biblography

Anaafo, David. "Land reforms and land rights change: A case study of land stressed groups in the Nkoranza South Municipality, Ghana." Land Use Policy 42 (2015): 538-546.

Barrett, George, Shirley Brooks, Jenny Josefsson, and Nqobile Zulu, eds. The Changing Face of Land and Conservation in Post-colonial Africa: Old Land, New Practices?. Routledge, 2016.

Belay, Solomon, Aklilu Amsalu, and Eyualem Abebe. "Land Use and Land Cover Changes in Awash National Park, Ethiopia: Impact of Decentralization on the Use and Management of Resources." Open Journal of Ecology 4, no. 15 (2014): 950.

Bezabih, Mintewab, Stein Holden, and Andrea Mannberg. "The Role of Land Certification in Reducing Gaps in Productivity between Male-and Female-Owned Farms in Rural Ethiopia." The Journal of Development Studies 52, no. 3 (2016): 360-376.

Bruce, John W. "The variety of reform: a review of recent experience with land reform and the reform of land tenure, with particular reference to the African experience." Occasional Paper 9 (2014): 13-56.

Byamugisha, Frank FK, ed. Agricultural land redistribution and land administration in sub-Saharan Africa: case studies of recent reforms. World Bank Publications, 2014.

Byamugisha, Frank FK. Securing Africa's land for shared prosperity: a program to scale Up reforms and investments. World Bank Publications, 2013.

Fessha, Yonatan Tesfaye. Ethnic diversity and federalism: Constitution making in South Africa and Ethiopia. Routledge, 2016.

Hall, Ruth, Ian Scoones, and Dzodzi Tsikata. Africa's land rush: rural livelihoods and agrarian change. James Currey, 2015.

Hallward-Driemeier, Mary, and Ousman Gajigo. "Strengthening economic rights and women’s occupational choice: the impact of reforming Ethiopia’s family law." World Development 70 (2015): 260-273.

Holden, Stein, Keijiro Otsuka, and Klaus Deininger, eds. Land tenure reform in Asia and Africa: assessing impacts on poverty and natural resource management. Springer, 2013.

Keeley, James, and Ian Scoones. Understanding environmental policy processes: Cases from Africa. Routledge, 2014.

Kindu, Mengistie, Thomas Schneider, Demel Teketay, and Thomas Knoke. "Drivers of land use/land cover changes in Munessa-Shashemene landscape of the south-central highlands of Ethiopia." Environmental monitoring and assessment 187, no. 7 (2015): 452.

Land reform Policy DIscussion Document. [PDF]. Available through <https:/ land proposals  of South Africa/ june>. Accessed on [18th June 2017]. (2012)

Lawry, Steven, Cyrus Samii, Ruth Hall, Aaron Leopold, Donna Hornby, and Farai Mtero. "The impact of land property rights interventions on investment and agricultural productivity in developing countries: a systematic review." Journal of Development Effectiveness 9, no. 1 (2017): 61-81.

Menon, Nidhiya, Yana Rodgers, and Alexis R. Kennedy. "Land Reform and Welfare in Vietnam: Why Gender of the Land?Rights Holder Matters." Journal of International Development (2016).

Ngaido, Tidiane. "Reforming land rights in Africa." (2016).

White Paper on South African Land Policy 1997. Department of Land Affairs.  [PDF]. Available  Through <https://intranet. ruraldevelopment .gov.za/ enure reform/ newpage>. [Accessed on 18th June 2017]. (2010)

Anaafo, David. "Land reforms and land rights change: A case study of land stressed groups in the Nkoranza South Municipality, Ghana." Land Use Policy 42 (2015): 538-546.

Barrett, George, Shirley Brooks, Jenny Josefsson, and Nqobile Zulu, eds. The Changing Face of Land and Conservation in Post-colonial Africa: Old Land, New Practices?.

Belay, Solomon, Aklilu Amsalu, and Eyualem Abebe. "Land Use and Land Cover Changes in Awash National Park, Ethiopia: Impact of Decentralization on the Use and Management of Resources." Open Journal of Ecology 4, no. 15 (2014): 950.

Bezabih, Mintewab, Stein Holden, and Andrea Mannberg. "The Role of Land Certification in Reducing Gaps in Productivity between Male-and Female-Owned Farms in Rural Ethiopia." The Journal of Development Studies 52, no. 3 (2016): 360-376.

Bruce, John W. "The variety of reform: a review of recent experience with land reform and the reform of land tenure, with particular reference to the African experience." Occasional Paper 9 (2014): 13-56.

Byamugisha, Frank FK, ed. Agricultural land redistribution and land administration in sub-Saharan Africa: case studies of recent reforms. World Bank Publications, 2014.

Byamugisha, Frank FK. Securing Africa's land for shared prosperity: a program to scale Up reforms and investments. World Bank Publications, 2013.

Fessha, Yonatan Tesfaye. Ethnic diversity and federalism: Constitution making in South Africa and Ethiopia. Routledge, 2016.

Hall, Ruth, Ian Scoones, and Dzodzi Tsikata. Africa's land rush: rural livelihoods and agrarian change. James Currey, 2015.

Hallward-Driemeier, Mary, and Ousman Gajigo. "Strengthening economic rights and women’s occupational choice: the impact of reforming Ethiopia’s family law." World Development 70 (2015): 260-273.

Holden, Stein, Keijiro Otsuka, and Klaus Deininger, eds. Land tenure reform in Asia and Africa: assessing impacts on poverty and natural resource management. Springer, 2013.

Keeley, James, and Ian Scoones. Understanding environmental policy processes: Cases from Africa. Routledge, 2014.

Kindu, Mengistie, Thomas Schneider, Demel Teketay, and Thomas Knoke. "Drivers of land use/land cover changes in Munessa-Shashemene landscape of the south-central highlands of Ethiopia." Environmental monitoring and assessment 187, no. 7 (2015): 452.

Land reform Policy DIscussion Document. [PDF]. Available through <https:/ land proposals  of South Africa/ june>. Accessed on [18th June 2017]. (2012)

Lawry, Steven, Cyrus Samii, Ruth Hall, Aaron Leopold, Donna Hornby, and Farai Mtero. "The impact of land property rights interventions on investment and agricultural productivity in developing countries: a systematic review." Journal of Development Effectiveness 9, no. 1 (2017): 61-81.

Menon, Nidhiya, Yana Rodgers, and Alexis R. Kennedy. "Land Reform and Welfare in Vietnam: Why Gender of the Land?Rights Holder Matters." Journal of International Development (2016).

Ngaido, Tidiane. "Reforming land rights in Africa." (2016).

White Paper on South African Land Policy 1997. Department of Land Affairs.  [PDF]. Available  Through <https://intranet. ruraldevelopment .gov.za/ enure reform/ newpage>. [Accessed on 18th June 2017]. (2010)

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