Several themes emerged during the visit to South Africa. Land restitution and reform is incredibly complex. Insufficient political will combined with agreements that leave issues open for future discussion may not only delay but set back the process of reconciliation. Political compromises over basic human rights can have the same effect. Community participation is critical to ensure public ownership of agreements and effective implementation.
Jean du Plessis provided invaluable assistance to BADIL in organizing the visit program. Mr. Du Plessis is the former director (1997-2000) of the South African Restitution of Land Rights Programme. He is currently Deputy Director of COHRE, the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions. The BADIL visit would not have been possible without the valuable assistance and support provided by numerous individuals and organizations in South Africa, foremost the Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA) and the Media Review Network (MRN). Further valuable input on the trip was provided by Ms. Ruth Hall (University of Western Cape), Ms. Cherryl Walker (Human Sciences Research Council, Durban), and Mr. Monty Roodt (Rhodes University) and Ms. Aisling Byrne of Al-Awda UK.