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Abstract

The racial division of land in South Africa was a lynchpin of white minority rule. For many years white farmers formed one of the most important strata of support for the National Party''s policy of apartheid. In return for this support they received huge subsidies from the government which facilitated the development of white-owned agriculture. On the other hand black-owned agriculture suffered years of neglect. A pattern emerged in which some sectors of white-owned agriculture became highly commercialised and productive while most black-owned agriculture continued to use traditional subsistence methods which brought diminishing returns. Apartheid has now been abolished and the National Party replaced by the government of the ANC which has committed itself to correcting the injustices of the apartheid era. It is clear that many black people who were forcibly removed from areas designated white during the years of apartheid want their land restored. How can the ANC government deal with the demands of these ''land-hungry'' people without damaging the productivity of the country''s agriculture? This is the central dilemma of the land question in post-apartheid South Africa. In this case study students are required to put themselves in the position of a policy adviser who has to recommend a strategy for President Mandela to follow. In so doing, the students will quickly find themselves at the centre of what is essentially a political issue. The case provides enough material for a two-hour seminar.

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Abstract

The racial division of land in South Africa was a lynchpin of white minority rule. For many years white farmers formed one of the most important strata of support for the National Party''s policy of apartheid. In return for this support they received huge subsidies from the government which facilitated the development of white-owned agriculture. On the other hand black-owned agriculture suffered years of neglect. A pattern emerged in which some sectors of white-owned agriculture became highly commercialised and productive while most black-owned agriculture continued to use traditional subsistence methods which brought diminishing returns. Apartheid has now been abolished and the National Party replaced by the government of the ANC which has committed itself to correcting the injustices of the apartheid era. It is clear that many black people who were forcibly removed from areas designated white during the years of apartheid want their land restored. How can the ANC government deal with the demands of these ''land-hungry'' people without damaging the productivity of the country''s agriculture? This is the central dilemma of the land question in post-apartheid South Africa. In this case study students are required to put themselves in the position of a policy adviser who has to recommend a strategy for President Mandela to follow. In so doing, the students will quickly find themselves at the centre of what is essentially a political issue. The case provides enough material for a two-hour seminar.

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