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The Programme aims to address the on-going marginalisation of farm dwellers, who are largely unable to realise their Constitutional rights to land, services, housing and dignity due to highly unequal power relations on farms and the ineffective implementation of legislation and policies designed to give effect to these rights. The Programme contributes to the realization of the rights of farm dwellers to land, services, housing and dignity. This will be achieved by mobilising farm dwellers to claim their rights to secure land tenure and basic services, strengthening strategic partnerships and coalitions whilst developing flexible and progressive mechanisms that promote the realisation of these rights, ensuring that rights violations are being monitored and responded to effectively, strengthening policy and legislation through evidence-based policy submissions, and continuing strategic litigation to improve jurisprudence and test relevant legislation, policies and their implementation.
AFRA, in partnership with OZA, the Commonwealth Foundation and TA, assists women, youth and men residing or working on rural commercial farmland in the UMgungundlovu District to mobilise around key issues impacting on their quality of life and access to sustainable livelihoods, engaging with and influencing policies and processes that impact on their land and development rights. This builds on the work started in our Regional Farm Dweller and Workers Platform in September 2016 to identify, support and mobilise community entry points, networks and alliances as champions of land and development issues.
Launched in January 2017, this project is an integral part of AFRA’s Strategic Plan for 2017-19, and builds on similar work that AFRA has undertaken with communities over the past 37 years whilst also opening opportunities for us to explore new approaches. The project expands on and consolidates current work, building on aspects of community empowerment and mobilisation already within our existing projects. We are grateful to the farm dwellers and workers who stepped forward at the Platform and asked for support to create this space to work with each other, and to OZA and our other partners for working with us to enable this vision to become a reality.
Many farm dwellers in South Africa are faced with income poverty from low wages, diminishing opportunities to work, and inadequate access to services. South Africa has been undergoing a comprehensive land reform programme to redress inequity in land ownership and unlock the economic potential of land. The country’s government is committed to continue to accelerate the pace of land reform.
Farm dwellers, and groups representing them, have been engaging in land reform processes in South Africa, raising awareness of the challenges they face and proposing recommendations to address them. However, the voices of women farm dwellers have been largely absent from these discussions.
This project will bring the voices of women living on farms in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality to current discussions on the land policy and legislative framework in South Africa. This will be achieved by:
- establishing and strengthening women farm dweller groups and supporting them to develop a common vision to guide women-centred advocacy initiatives
- building the capacity of women to understand and assess existing and proposed land policies and legislation, including current discussions on the expropriation of land
- promoting women’s access to and participation in decision making spaces to advocate for their needs; this will include engagement in farm dweller groups, participation in development planning processes led by municipalities, and participation in national land reform processes
- supporting women to express their needs and priorities using creative expression, including art, theatre, and a documentary to be produced by farm-dwelling women.