Land ownership in South Africa is a complex topic, with dozens of laws regulating the purchase, redistribution, and tenure of land, as well as the property rights of landowners. These laws date back decades, through pre- and post-colonial apartheid eras, and they govern different spaces – urban and rural, commercial and residential, peri-urban and farming, and more.

The sector, however, is riddled with corruption.

When land corruption happens, people are not merely deprived of a resource, but their very ability to sustain their families is at risk. Their connection with the land is broken, as well as their ability to live off that land. Their constitutional and human rights are violated.

Join Corruption Watch’s (CW) Melusi Ncala and the CW team in a new five-part podcast series where he discusses the work they have done towards the second phase of Transparency International’s Land and Corruption in Africa (LCA) project, which runs from 2021 to 2025. We are part of an eight-chapter team – with Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – that successfully completed the first phase from 2014 to 2019. Overall, the LCA project seeks to address land corruption risks and injustices in sub-Saharan Africa.

Our work in this second LCA phase focuses on the plight of people who live and/or work in farming communities, specifically in the Western Cape.

CW has received hundreds of reports relating to land issues in the housing, mining, and land sectors, mainly in KwaZulu-Natal, the North West and Western Cape provinces, and Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Reporters allege that local government, private individuals, and tribal authorities are involved in corruption in the management and/or administration of land affairs, particularly the transparent acquisition of land, as well as private sector bribery to secure mining rights, and political corruption where politicians create laws to favour corporations at the expense of communities, who are often left displaced.

In this first episode, you’ll hear project leaders from CW and TI as they talk about the areas in which they want to see change happen and the research done so far, community activists who paint a disturbing picture of ruthless corruption between companies and authorities and threats to livelihoods and lives, and representatives of other organisations who tell of discrimination and hardships against marginalised people.

Their stories are heart-breaking, but they need to be heard.


This podcast series is made possible by funding received from Transparency International. For more on CW’s work, including research reports and toolkits on land corruption, please visit our website at Our e-mail address is You can call us on 011 242 3900.