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Land in Africa: Market Asset or Secure Livelihood Conference London, November 8-9, 2004 Session on Gender, Land Rights and Inheritance

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G00171
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Document begins: Land in Africa: Market Asset or Secure Livelihood Conference London, November 8-9, 2004 Session on Gender, Land Rights and Inheritance Comments by Cherryl Walker Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa BACKGROUND My comments relate to South Africa and focus on the issue of women's land rights under communal tenure systems. In making them I am conscious that South Africa differs from most other countries in sub-Saharan Africa in a number of respects that are significant for land policy, including relatively high levels of urbanisation and the relative unimportance of agriculture, land-based livelihoods and communal tenure systems economically as well as socially. These comments are based on reflections on four inter-related sets of developments that have had a bearing on this issue in South Africa over the past 11 years, which I describe very briefly below, namely: 1. The constitutional debate about the relationship between the principle of gender equality and the status of customary law and traditional leadership institutions; 2. The Gender Policy developed by the Department of Land Affairs (DLA) since 1994; 3. The protracted struggle around the development of tenure reform policy since 1994; 4. A recent Constitutional Court judgment on the property rights of women ...

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G00171