Community Access to Land & Natural Resources

The LRC’s earliest land work involved helping poor and marginalized communities resist forced removals during the apartheid era. Today, the LRC supports poor individuals and communities whose land was taken unlawfully from them on a case-by-case basis.

Some of the LRC’s work involves urban restitution cases, but most client communities live in far-flung rural areas, where lawyers in private practice generally do not engage and for whom funding is also not accessible. This work often involves large land claims for the return of land to communities for agricultural use and other economic activities such as mining. The LRC also helps communities to secure just and equitable compensation when land cannot be returned.

LRC lawyers work first to restore land to these communities through litigation and negotiation. After land has been returned to the community, the LRC assists with institutional arrangements, including the formation of land-holding and management arrangements and securing rights to an equitable share in natural resources and related infrastructure. The LRC also develops plans to protect farm workers and tenants against unlawful evictions.

Please watch this video showing how the LRC helped a community in the Transkei, whose homes were destroyed and which was forcibly removed from their land without any compensation during the apartheid era: