Rural Development and Land Reform

National Department Budget for 2016-17

Vote purpose

Create and maintain an equitable and sustainable land dispensation and act as a catalyst in rural development to ensure sustainable rural livelihoods, decent work and continued social and economic advancement for all South Africans.


The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform executes its legislative mandate based on the following acts:

  • The Restitution of Land Rights Act (1994) provides for the restitution of rights in land to persons or communities dispossessed of such rights after 19 June 1913. The act established a Commission on Restitution of Land Rights and a Land Claims Court. The minister is authorised to purchase, acquire and expropriate land or rights in land for the purpose of restitution awards.

  • The Provision of Land and Assistance Act (1993) provides for the designation of certain land, the regulation of the subdivision of such land and the settlement of persons on it. It also provides for the acquisition, maintenance, planning, development, improvement and disposal of property and the provision of financial assistance for land reform purposes.

  • The Communal Property Associations Act (1996) enables communities to form juristic persons, to be known as communal property associations, in order to acquire, hold and manage property on a basis agreed to by members of a community in terms of a written constitution.

  • The Transformation of Certain Rural Areas Act (1998) provides for the transfer of certain land to municipalities and certain other legal entities, as well as for the removal of restrictions on the alienation of land.

  • The Physical Planning Act (1991) promotes the orderly physical development of South Africa, and for that purpose, makes provisions for the division of the country into regions, and for the preparation of national development plans, regional development plans, regional structure plans and urban structure plans.

  • The Deeds Registries Act (1997) provides for the administration of the land registration system and the registration of land rights.

  • The Land Survey Act (1997) provides for the regulation of the survey of land in South Africa.

  • The Sectional Titles Act (1986) provides for: the division of building into sections and common property; the acquisition of separate ownership in sections coupled with joint ownership in common property; the control of certain incidents attached to separate ownership in sections and joint ownership in common property; the transfer of ownership of sections and the registration of sectional mortgage bonds over, and real rights in sections; the conferring and registration of rights in and the disposal of common property; the establishment of bodies corporate to control common property and for that purpose to apply rules; and the establishment of a sectional titles regulation board.

  • The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (2013) provides for national land use management and spatial planning systems; the development of government facilities such as hospitals, clinics and schools; and rural development plans, guidelines, and norms and standards.

  • The department is also mandated to initiate, facilitate, coordinate, catalyse and implement an integrated rural development programme, which is linked to the need to create vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities (outcome 7 of government’s 2014-2019 medium term strategic framework).

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