About Knowledgebase.land

KB.L seeks to bring to life all aspects of the ‘land issue’, recognizing that land is both a deeply important aspect of our history, and an emotive issue shaping our political landscape. KB.L seeks to develop a comprehensive sense of this history, heritage and memory through a combination of news, commissioned articles and links to research. We aim to be recognised as a trusted site providing a wide range of land related news content and research links both nationally and within Southern Africa.

Why this site?

KB.L enables you to stay abreast of land related news and to access the latest research. Our research teams collect and organise news and research outputs by content and theme. We make it easy to find specific information and then to discover a wide range of related content. KB.L brings all the threads together. We are working to develop KB.L into the definitive site covering land issues in South Africa. We are expanding our news footprint to include updates from Southern, Central and Eastern Africa.

Our objectives

KB.L seeks to bring to life all aspects of the ‘land issue’, recognising that land is a deeply important aspect of our collective history, and an emotive issue which influences the shaping of our political landscape.

KB.L seeks to develop a comprehensive sense of this history, heritage and memory through a combination of news, commissioned articles, links to research and a repository of documentary photographs providing multiple perspectives on rural and urban land.

KB.L exists to deepen the conversation about the urban and rural land issues and to advance critical analysis of the policy and practice of land reform in South Africa. It aims to build an expanding national knowledge base that illuminates different narratives about land and land reform implementation to help us better understand our past, reflect on our sense of nationhood and consider options for our future. In so do we also seek to learn from the experience in other African countries.

The context

With the onset on Covid-19 land reform has been put on hold. The recent supplementary budget (June 2020) reflects deep economic crisis in South Africa that was already unfolding prior to to the impacts of the pandemic which have further amplified and deepened this crisis.  The Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development budget has been slashed by R2.4 billion, and Environment, Forestry and Fisheries by R766 million – some of the largest cuts experienced by any department. There is a hold on new land acquisition and reduced funding for farmer support – all this in a context of mounting risk due to global heating and a food system that fails to adequately meet the needs of the majority of poor and vulnerable households in South Africa

In the run up to the public hearings on expropriation Phuhlisani NPC was contracted by Absa to prepare a series of open access research reports to contribute to a reliable knowledge base on land reform in South Africa. These reports informed submissions made to the Constitutional Review Committee tasked with investigation the necessity of amending Section 25 of the Constitution. While the current Covid-19 crisis has diluted the focus on land reform the land question will not go away. As can be seen from our urban land content there are major struggles going on to access well located land in the city and address spatial inequality. Likewise our food security content which has grown rapidly in recent weeks highlights the urgent need to rethink our agriculture policy, redesign food systems and repurpose smallholder support.

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“Issues like access to land, the right to fish, the need for work and the desire for justice are all hot button issue, strongly tied to deeply held values and eliciting powerful emotions. When these are at stake it is easy for facts to be thrown out of the window and for politicians and activists to seek simplistic solutions or gratifying answers. Pointing out the hidden complexities and uncomfortable realities can sometimes be a very unpopular activity. Yet we believe it is essential.” Andries du Toit

Who will benefit?

KB.L seeks to serve the needs of diverse groupings with interests in land and land reform. These include:

  • active citizens, civil society and community based organisations
  • organised agriculture, business and financial institutions
  • policy makers, government officials and land reform practitioners
  • planners, researchers and students
  • local, continental and international journalists
  • worker organisations and more.

What we will provide

KB:L content will be rolled out in three phases. The website you see today, is part of Phase 1 consisting of a News page, a page on Section 25 of the Constitution and a Landscape page that provides an overview of all things related to the land issue in South Africa.

This is only the beginning. Follow the link below to read more about what is planned for Phase 2 and 3.

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Website curation and sources of support

Phuhlisani NPC aims to generate lasting solutions based on research, dialogue and reflexive practice.

Phuhlisani NPC aims to generate lasting solutions based on research, dialogue and reflexive practice.

We strive to assist rural citizens to secure their rights and facilitate engagement to combat poverty, landlessness and tenure insecurity. We are part of the civil society Section 25 initiative to advocate for a land reform programme that prioritises the needs of the rural and urban poor. We seek to develop practical alternatives to failed policies and practices based on co-learning and joint action for change. In this we aim to strengthen essential policy literacies and implementation capabilities required to meet South Africa’s land related challenges in the 21st century.

Phuhlisani NPC acknowledges the contribution of Absa to launch the first phase of KB.L. Our aim is further develop content and services  which contribute to applied thinking about what needs to be done to redesign and implement a sustainable land reform programme that serves the needs of the many and not the few.


Phase 1 funding was made available by Absa

Phase 1 funding was made available by Absa


All photos used on this site are open source. Thumbnail images accompanying news articles may be subject to copyright.

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Been both furious and broken for the last 18 hours.

Ma Ntshangase was an absolute force in person, overflowing with warmth, good humour, and a burning desire to hold the Tendele coal mine for its innumerable injustices to her and her Somkhele community.

Background --> https://twitter.com/GroundUp_News/status/1319609779501891584


Fikile Ntshangase opposed a mine extension. Last night she was murdered http://www.groundup.org.za/article/mining-activist-murdered-kzn/ @CentreEnvRights @EnvironmentMinister

Runaway fires burning since Sunday have destroyed embattled farming areas in Hertzogville, Hoopstad, Bulfontein and Dealesville in the Free State, and in the Frances Baard District near Warrenton in the Northern Cape.
https://citizen.co.za/multimedia/2373889/video-governments-silence-on-fs-nc-fires-failing-farmers-once-again-says-union/#.X5LAQTCP3J0.twitter via @TheCitizen_News

Land occupiers tear down ‘unoccupied’ shacks in overcrowded informal settlement “We have all invaded this land and no one has the right to destroy another invader’s shack,” https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2020-10-19-land-occupiers-tear-down-unoccupied-shacks-in-overcrowded-informal-settlement/ via @TimesLIVE

The government has been engaging with investors to clarify why land reform is needed, emphasized that there won’t be wholesale gazetting of land for seizure and designated the courts to be the final arbiters in any disputes, https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/442208/south-africa-moves-to-soothe-investor-fears-over-land-grabs/ via @businesstechSA

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A project of Phuhlisani NPC supported by Absa. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. International License.