Hybrid Land Tenure Administration in Dunoon, South Africa – Land Use Policy – article

Hybrid Land Tenure Administration in Dunoon, South Africa

Michael Barry | Land Use Policy


Hybrid land tenure administration occurs in a number of South Africa’s state-subsidised housing projects and in the informal settlements from which the housing beneficiaries tend to be drawn. Ownership is the tenure form in most of these housing projects. Under ownership the law only recognises registered land transactions. Non-government tenure administration in Dunoon was organised by street and area committees that are part of the local South African National Civics Association (SANCO) branch, a community based organisation (CBO). SANCO is aligned with the ANC ruling party, and so Dunoon is a case of a CBO driving an alternative land tenure administration system using a form of private conveyancing operating in parallel and opposition to the official registration system for a period after first registration. Thus there was a party structure supporting a system running in opposition to the official system. The situation then evolved where the CBO encouraged registration as the risks to the buyer of off-register transactions became apparent when the official registration system emerged as the dominant land transaction option. Historical analysis and qualitative interviews inform the study. If hybrid governance is inescapable and if ownership titles meet beneficiaries’ needs and wants, then, ideally, state land administration organisations should engage households and community based organisations continually in title maintenance activities. To increase the uptake of registering land, changes to the rigid procedures required for registration should be explored to examine how certain arrangements and land tenure practices as they actually exist can be accommodated.


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