Land Reform Policy: The Challenge of Human Rights Law

It is argued in this volume that inequitable land distribution is the largest single issue threatening the Southern African Development Community (SADC) states' transition to democratic governance and its subsequent social, economic and political changes. The text examines problems with land rights and land claims in 21st-century SADC states. In particular, the legitimacy of counter-claims of title to real property, linked to conversion from oral governance before colonization to formal record governance after colonization, is analysed. The author examines the phenomenon of social change as an impetus for development of social conceptions of justice and, with it, substantive norms of law relating to ownership of real property. After outlining the issues, Land Reform Policy presents a theoretical model for interpreting the requirements of justice to be applied in the aftermath of fundamental change. The challenges facing the SADC states provide lessons for many other nations, whose governments have continuing social injustices rooted in counter-claims to land to contend with.