This paper looks at the impact of land restitution involving the Khomani San “bushmen” in the
Kgalagadi area of South Africa. It seeks to investigate the effect of land restitution on poverty
reduction among the beneficiaries. We run two-stage least squares models of access to nature, per
capita income and poverty status on the use of restituted land, among other variables. Our results
suggest that the Khomani San beneficiaries have gotten more access to natural resources but that
the use of restituted land has neither increased per capita income nor reduced poverty. In fact, the
use of restituted land has contributed to increased poverty. Therefore, land restitution should
become part of a broader, carefully crafted rural developmental strategy for it to be effective in
reducing poverty. Otherwise, land restitution risks enabling indigenous communities to continue
with their “traditional” way of life, and in fact thereby keep them poor.
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