South Africa’s progressive Constitution and legal framework enshrines Human rights and protects political, economic, social and cultural rights which include, i.a. the right to adequate housing. In its Bill of Rights, the Constitution sets out an ambitious framework where the State has, in most cases, the obligation to ‘take reasonable legislative and other measures within its available resources’ for the ‘progressive realisation’ of these rights. Despite important progress made by the authorities, including on political rights, socioeconomic rights are, however, still not accessible to a large part of the population of South Africa.
The EU has previously advocated as well as supported land reform through Local Economic Development Programmes in Limpopo, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Provinces (2001-2013) and a Land Reform Pilot Programme in 1995-2005 (EUR 11 million), which focused on the capacity of the then Department of Land Affairs.
Also worth underlining is EU cooperation with the Department of Justice, where the Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA) is implementing a EUR 1.1 million project in rural Kwa Zulu Natal, which seeks to establish a Land Rights Unit and promote collaboration between key stakeholders on the rights of farm dwellers. Another EU project on land and tenure rights is currently implemented by the Foundation for Human Rights.
The EU will continue to monitor land reform while South Africa has strong democratic institutions and a robust system of constitutional checks and balances including for property rights.