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Effective Cadastral Systems during periods of Uncertainty: The South African Experience

Prof. Michael Barry, 15 november 2001

Op donderdag 15 november 2001, aanvang 16.00 uur, heeft prof. Michael Barry (University of Cape Town) op uitnodiging van de Nederlandse Commissie voor Geodesie een lezing gegeven met de titel 'Effective Cadastral Systems during periods of Uncertainty: The South African Experience'.


In the technical sense, South Africa has had a world class juridical land survey and registration system that has been integrated with planning and land taxation processes and structures for at least 70 years. While this system served the descendents of European colonists very well, racially based legislation precluded large sections of the indigenous population from enjoying ownership rights supported by the cadastral system. During the social, political and economic transformation to democracy in the 1990’s, the fundamental need for such a cadastral system was challenged.

The lecture briefly traces the history of South Africa’s cadastral system and outlines the main structures and processes underlying the system. Thereafter some of the challenges facing land managers, and as a consequence the cadastral system, will be described. These challenges include land restitution - returning land rights to those who had them taken away during the apartheid era - and land reform - the need to have more equitable land ownership and the need to provide affordable housing for more than 7 million people. The main focus will be on informal settlements and the challenges to the cadastral system in upgrading settlements in situ or in moving people from informal settlements to formal housing.

Prof. Barry teaches GIS, Land Law and Land Tenure Systems, Cadastral Systems, and Surveying. His primary research interests include the design and evaluation of cadastral systems during uncertainty and social transformation, and managing the design and implementation issues in GIS. He has also published in the field of offshore engineering surveys on the basis of his practical experience, but he is no longer active in this area.