Changing Landscapes of Democracy, Rural Governance, Traditional Power and Degraded Commons in a Former Apartheid Homeland

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"This paper reviews the role of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act (TLGFA) of 2002 in resuscitating defunct tribal authorities in four poverty-stricken villages (Masakhane, Ndlambe, Prudhoe and Rabula) the Ciskei, a former apartheid homeland (Bantustan). By the time of the transition from apartheid to a democratic political dispensation tribal authorities had collapsed in these villages. In their place were diverse, community-based systems, rules, structures and mechanisms of local governance, justice, management of common property and customary law. These community-based regimes were also shaped by post-1994 legislation on rural local government and traditional leaders. The paper shows the impact of the TLGFA in resuscitating tribal authorities in these villages. The four case studies villages show the impact of the TLGFA in the following aspects: the nature and form of local democracy and governance, the meanings of identity and space, as well as contestations over the commons, in particular control over land, natural resources, and local economic development. The paper also shows emerging evidence of contestations over rural democracy, rural governance, boundaries of authority, identity, and common property."
democracy, natural resources, development, traditional institutions, local governance and politics