The building in which land records are stored in Mount Frere, a district of the old Transkei, is an iron shack. Rickety wooden shelves are weighed down by piles of ledgers and fraying folders. At a recent policy conference on inclusive growth, Mike Kenyon, a researcher in the Eastern Cape, showed a 2011 picture of the land records ‘office’ to illustrate land administration in the former homeland. Despite intense economic activity in livestock farming, construction, personal services and even marijuana cultivation, there are few effective institutions and many murky regulations around land use and planning. ‘Anyone who wants to do a development project gives up or does it below the radar’, he said.
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