Accepted paper:

Unpacking the complex peri-urban land markets in post-apartheid cities - A case study of eThekwini and iLembe Municipalities


Sandile Mbatha (University of Stuttgart)
Mpilo Pearl Sithole (Durban University of Technology)
Mvuselelo Ngcoya (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores peri-urban land transactions with the objective to understand transaction processes, factors influencing them and to identify key stakeholders and their interest in these land markets.

Paper long abstract:

In South Africa, complex questions of land are often presented in the singular ("the land question"!) Yet, as many scholars have noted the contentious and sensitive processes of land acquisitions in post-apartheid cities in South Africa are driven by complex racial and socio-economic histories of differentiated access (Moyo 2007, Ntsebeza 2010). Ownership, acquisition and disposal of land is shaped by such histories. Exacerbating this complexity is the duality of land systems that currently exist in cities like eThekwini where customary and Western systems coexist (Mafeje 2003). While the eThekwini and iLembe Municipalitiesy areis a spaces of collision and interaction between these two land systems, class differentiation (Cousins 2013) is patently in the picture as well. There is a visible outward shift of predominantly black middle class residents into peri-urban areas. This is primarily because the peri-urban zones offer relatively easier and cheaper access to land comparative to formal land market in the inner city. Yet, this is not a simple matter of a mix of the triad of individual beliefs, preferences and opportunities that govern decision-making (Bowles et al., 2005 and Gintis, 2005). Processes of accessing, holding and disposing land in these peri-urban areas is embedded in socio-cultural norms and traditional practices. While this peri-urban land market appears to be customary and informal in nature it is nevertheless driven by a host of other factors. Using the theoretical lense of assemblage (Li 2007), this research explores the entanglements of things (land, title deeds) processes (transactions), actors (chiefs, councillors, landowners) and factors driving this surge in demand for land.

panel P186
Interrogating Land Value Capture in the African peri-urban Interface: towards a new political Economy?