Skip to main content
Land Governance icon


The Land Governance programme focuses on land governance issues in South Africa and beyond. The aim is to contribute to the growing body of work on land governance in South Africa. The specific aim of the PARI land initiative is to contribute to improved land governance through building state capacity, enhancing state–CSO engagements by generating empirical evidence and building the state’s capacity to uphold the South African Constitution.

The Land Governance programme focuses on the need for increased attention to the land governance and administration issues. The continued contestation in policy and practice around land issues, institutional dynamics, ​slow ​progress ​on ​South ​Africa​’​s ​land ​reform ​programme​, decline in systematic outputs on land administration, lack of coherence on policy implementation at the local government level, ​the ​current debate ​ ​on ​land administration​, polarised interpretations and positions among the stakeholders in the sector as illustrated in the and litigation  ongoing discussions around land expropriation highlight the need for this intervention.

The approach includes case study research, multi-stakeholder convenings,  conference presentations, capacity development of stakeholders, generating alternative narratives and amplifying the voice of the marginalised in the land governance discourse.  The national level intervention will focus on the state capability, diagnostic study of land administration and functions and enhancing the narratives and repositories of land in South Africa.  The sub-national case studies will focus on selected provincial land administration, municipal, traditional, and religious land governance authorities to interrogate decentralised land administration, impact on designated persons, amplifying the voices of the marginalised and generating alternative narratives 

Lead: Dr Gaynor Paradza 

Researchers: Dr Mbongiseni Buthelezi

Journal ArticlesLandPublications
February 26, 2024

Special Issue | Current research and opinion on land governance for societal development in and on the Global South

Lead of PARI's Land Governance programme, Gaynor Paradza, co-edited this Special Issue of Land Use Policy with Uchendu Eugene Chigbu, Romie Vonkie Nghitevelekwa and Michael Klaus. Titled Current research and…
LandPolicy briefs and resourcesPublications
February 26, 2024

Comments on the Draft White Paper for Human Settlements 2023

Human settlements are a critical component of rural and urban development. The importance of access to adequate housing is enshrined in Section 26 of the Constitution. While the various housing…
LandLocal GovtPolicy briefs and resourcesPublications
November 28, 2023

Policy brief | Why indigenous land tenure security is a condition for indigenous community engagement

By Gaynor Paradza and Jabu Hlatshwayo ABSTRACT Secure land tenure is a precondition to beneficial land occupation. Tenure security enables land holders to derive benefit from their land. Although they…
June 30, 2023

Intern | Open Letter to the President from a Disillusioned Youth

PARI's intern, Jabu Hlatshwayo, appeals to the President to prioritise land reform and the youth. Open letter to the President from a Disillusioned Youth Dear President Ramaphosa Greetings, Mr. President.…
January 25, 2023

Report | Land Governance in Ekurhuleni Municipality

A new report from the Land Governance programme by Simbarashe Nyuke, Gaynor Paradza and Noluvuyo Mjoli. The land question is a volatile issue in South Africa as land redistribution goals…
January 25, 2023

Report | Land Use and Management in Lephalale Local Municipality

This research report focuses on land administration in Lephalale Local Municipality where the effects of the construction of Medupi power station have revealed how institutional dynamics in local government (in…
January 25, 2023

Report | Engcobo: The Confluence of the State, Local Municipality and Traditional Authority in Land Governance

This report examines land governance in Engcobo and shows how negotiation and compromise characterise the relationship between the municipality and traditional authorities. It reveals how local governance is shaped and…
LandPolicy briefs and resourcesPublications
November 9, 2022

Guidelines for the Development of Curricula on Land Governance in Africa

Dr Gaynor Paradza was one of the drafters in a select team of African experts drawn mainly from universities and institutions of higher learning. The Guidelines for the Development of…
August 17, 2022

Gaynor Paradza gives keynote address at University of Ghana

Senior Researcher Gaynor Paradza leads PARI's Land Governance programme. She is in Accra on 17 August to give a keynote address at the Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa…
LandLocal GovtNewsOp EdPublicationstraditional leaders
May 25, 2022

Op Ed | KZN Floods: The dangerous cocktail of traditional authorities and local government

Photo 57214329 © | By Mbongiseni Buthelezi Traditional leaders assign land giving little consideration to spatial planning for long-term, sustainable settlement. People are settled in places unsuitable for human…
March 24, 2022

Webinar | Celebrating Women in the Land Sector

On 24 March 2022, PARI's Land Programme Lead, Gaynor Paradza, participated in a webinar titled Women's Land Rights: Celebrating the Role of Women in the Land Sector: Reflecting on Experience,…
December 6, 2021

Chapter | Women and Land Inheritance Under Legal Pluralism in Lesotho

'Land inheritance is an important process through which women negotiate access to the resource. Legal pluralism renders land inheritance a complex process for those who rely on inheritance as a…
LandPolicy briefs and resourcesPublicationsReports
October 5, 2021

Towards an Integrated Land Administration System

Gaynor Paradza, Lead of the Land Governance programme at PARI, has collaborated with PLAAS and SALGA to produce this diagnostic document, which lays a foundation for creating cohesion in South…
September 30, 2021

WATCH | A Just Recovery After Covid-19 and Looting

This PLAAS webinar on 30 September 2021, facilitated by Mbongiseni Buthelezi, aimed to reframe the post-Covid and post-unrest ‘recovery’ discourse to foreground the danger of entrenched corporate power in the…
September 30, 2021

WATCH | State Reform and Traditional Leadership

On 29 September 2021, Mbongiseni Buthelezi presented an input into the Rebuild SA webinar, the first instalment in a series by GCRO and MISTRA. Dr Buthelezi spoke on State Reform…
Journal ArticlesLandPublications
June 7, 2021

Land | Could Mapping Initiatives Catalyze the Interpretation of Customary Land Rights in Ways that Secure Women’s Land Rights?

By Gaynor Paradza, Lebogang Mokwena and Walter Musakwa   Abstract Although land forms the basis for marginal livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa, the asset is more strategic for women as they…
Journal ArticlesLandPublications
June 7, 2021

Land | Partnerships and Stakeholder Participation in the Management of National Parks: Experiences of the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe

By Walter Musakwa, Trynos Gumbo, Gaynor Paradza, Ephraim Mpofu, Nesisa Analisa Nyathi and Ntlakala B. Selamolela   Abstract National parks play an important role in maintaining natural ecosystems which are…
June 7, 2021

PARI joins the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa

NELGA is the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa. The NUST NELGA node currently has over 30 academic partner institutions in 12 southern African countries, making it the…
LandOp EdPublications
November 30, 2020

Op Ed | Every Zimbabwean Deserves Secure Land Rights

by Gaynor Paradza In 2019, Zimbabwe embarked on a long-awaited land policymaking process. The Land Policy's emphasis on gender sensitivity echoes global recognition and acknowledgement of the strategic importance of…
LandOp EdPublications
October 15, 2020

Op ed | A New Part for the Course

By Federica Duca   Recent news of the redevelopment of the River Club in Cape Town, and a furore about the lease renewal of the Rondebosch golf course in the…
September 18, 2020

WATCH | Land Policy-Making in SA Webinar

Towards Coherent Land Policy-Making in SA: insights and Lessons was the first webinar held by PARI's Land Governance Programme. The webinar, on 16 September 2020, featured dynamic inputs from land…
September 7, 2020

Webinar | Towards Coherent Land Policy-Making in SA: Insights and Lessons

Achieving coherence in land governance remains a challenge in South Africa. Attempts to  reconcile diverse claims involve trade-offs and compromises. South Africa finds itself locked in these policy processes to…
August 24, 2020

Open Letter to the President | We are not ‘in this together’

OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT: WE ARE NOT 'IN THIS TOGETHER’, POOR WOMEN NEED LAND JUSTICE! Dear President Ramaphosa, We appreciate your efforts in trying to curb the rampant spread…
July 28, 2020

Webinar | Land Reform and the Art of Government: The role and capacity of the state

Dr Mbongiseni Buthelezi will be participating in this webinar, organised by PLAAS at the University of the Western Cape, on government roles and capacities in land reform. Watch the public…
March 15, 2020

Postponed | Joburg Urban Governance Dialogue

Following the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa declaring Covid-19 a national disaster, please be advised that this event has been postponed. We will be in communication during this week about…
November 28, 2019

Retreat and Belonging in Upper Class Gated Communities

Dr Federica Duca presented at a conference at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, titled Breaking down the nation-state: retreat and belonging in upper class gated communities in Johannesburg.…
July 30, 2019

The Politics Of Leisure And Exclusion: Critical perspectives on golf

On 25 July, Dr Federica Duca gave a lecture to University of Johannesburg's third-year Architecture students (UJ FADA). The title of the lecture was The Politics of Leisure and Exclusion:…
LandMultimediaNewstraditional leaders
May 30, 2019

Listen | Mbongiseni Buthelezi on Traditional Leadership and Democracy

The evolution of traditional leadership and its impact post-democracy THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED HERE   We have seen a number of stories around developments in various royal households in…
May 6, 2019

Is Leisure Innocent?: Reflections from Golf Courses

Senior Researcher Dr Federica Duca participates in the Wiser/UMichigan Mellon collaborative seminar titled Spatial Typologies and the Built Environment: Navigating African Urban Landscapes. Dr Duca will talk on Monday, 6…
April 20, 2019

Watch | Traditional Leaders in a Democracy Interview with Mbongiseni Buthelezi

Mbongiseni Buthelezi speaks about unaccountable leaders and apartheid legacies in an interview about the book, on which he is one of the editors, "Traditional Leaders in a Democracy: Resources, Respect…
April 12, 2019

Federica Duca on Wealth Inequality

The Southern Centre for Inequality Studies recently held a symposium on understanding inequality in the global South. The pre-conference event on 9 April 2019 featured a presentation by Dr Federica…
February 28, 2019

Traditional Leaders in a Democracy

Dr Mbongiseni Buthelezi is one of the three editors on the book launched by the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra) on 28 February 2019.   Published by Jacana Media,…
Academic ProgrammeEventsFeaturedLandNewsSeminars
November 7, 2018

Workshop and Exhibition | Gated Communities and Townhouse Complexes

Gated Communities & Townhouse Complexes Workshop and Exhibition   In collaboration with IFAS (French Institute of South Africa) and LAVUE (Université Paris, Nanterre), PARI co-hosts a workshop on 14 November…
October 1, 2018

Federica Duca on gated communities | Paris

Federica Duca was in Paris on 28 September, attending a seminar on gated communities. This half-day workshop took place at Nanterre University to reflect on the evolutions of urbanism in…
March 13, 2018

Chapter | The Salience of Chiefs in Post Apartheid South Africa

Recently published is Mbongiseni Buthelezi's co-authored chapter on chieftancy in contemporary South Africa, in: Comaroff, J.L. and J. Comaroff. eds., 2018. The Politics of Custom: Chiefship, Capital and the State…
September 18, 2017

Rethinking Urban Global Justice

From September 11-13, Federica Duca attended the RC21 Conference in Leeds, titled Rethinking Urban Global Justice: An international academic conference for critical urban studies. Duca convened a roundtable “Elites and…
September 4, 2017

Urban Anxieties in the Global South

On 16 August, senior researcher Federica Duca gave a talk at Urban Anxieties in the Global South, a project by Wits Media Studies and WiSER. Federica’s talk titled, “Macabre and…
August 21, 2017

GCRO Brown Bag: Regimes of Urban Public Goods

PARI and GCRO invite you to a brown bag presentation by Benjamin Bradlow Regimes of Urban Public Goods Distribution: Governing Johannesburg, 1990-2016 Date: 30 August 2017 Time: 13.00-14.00 Venue: GCRO,…
August 15, 2012

Living Together, Separately in the New South Africa: The Case of Integrated Housing in Mohale City and Lehae Project

Over the past few years, there had been demands from applicants for the Department of Human Settlements (Housing) to make RDP houses available to all race groups. This had seen…
June 15, 2012

Middle classing in Roodepoort: capitalism and social change in South Africa

This essay explores social change in South Africa since the end of apartheid by considering the kinds of communities that are emerging in the new townhouse developments on the western…