Aninka Claasen BA (UCT) BA(Hons) (Witwatersrand) PhD (Roskilde)
Senior Researcher & R WAR Director
Tel: +27 21 650 5640
Dr Aninka Claassens has been engaged in land issues in South Africa for 25 years and leads LRG's Rural Women's Action Researc h Project. She began her working life as a trade union organiser. During the 1980s she worked closely with rural communities resisting forced removals. From 1990 she was senior researcher in the Land Rights Project at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits University. During South Africa's tra nsition Aninka participated in working groups that developed proposals pertaining to legislation dealing with restitution and the protection of labour tenant and farm worker rights. She was a member of the ANC's land desk and was a technical expert to the Constitutional Assembly on land rights and t he property clause.
From 1997-1999 she was an Advisor to the Minister of Land Affairs. At the Ministry she was engaged in the process of drafting and negotiating legislation pertaining to land rights on white farms and in developing proposals for tenure reform. From 2000-2003 she undertook various research projects with PLAAS at UWC, and also worked on urban land issues. From 2003-2009 she worked for the Legal Resources Centre, where she co-ordinated the rural consultation and research process pertaining to a legal challenge to the Communal Land Rights Act and other customary law related cases. In 2009 she moved to the Law Race and Gender Unit at UCT and founded the Rural Women's Action Research Project (RWAR) there.
RWAR is interdisciplinary in orientation and employs qualitative action research methodologies built on partnerships with rural community-based organisations and other civil society institutions in the former homelands where 18 million people live. Much of our research is done to complement strategic litigation and to support advocacy concerning traditional courts, women's rights, land rights, citizenship, governance problems and the nature of living customary law.
Although much of Aninka's work has been about law she is not a lawyer. She studied African languages at UCT, Sociology at Wits, and has a PhD in Development Studies from Roskilde Univesity in Denmark.
Teaching and Supervision
Aninka is primarily a researcher as opposed to a lecturer but has presented some guest lectures, for example:
- 'Advocacy: Strategic Litigation and Extra-Parliamentary Campaigns' - for the LLM/MPhil course Social Justice in Practice(PBL6048S) in the Department of Public Law, UCT
- 'Women's Land Rights' - for the LLM/MPhil course International Protection of Women's Human Rights (PBL6051S) in the Department of Public Law, UCT
- 'Interface Between Living Customary Laws of Marriage and South African State Law' - for the preliminary year LLB course Law of Persons and Marriage (RDL1002H) in the Department of Public Law, UCT (with Sindiso Mnisi Weeks)
She is currently co-supervising a PhD candidate and is available to supervise Masters and PhD students whose interests overlap with those of RWAR's focus areas. RWAR's partnerships in rural areas enable access to a rich range of field sites for those students committed to the action-research partnerships and methodology that RWAR pursues. As Aninka's background and approach is interdisciplinary, applicants with a social science or humanities background are welcome.
Claassens, A. and Cousins, B. (eds), Land, Power & Custom: controversies generated by South Africa's Communal Land Rights Act, UCT Press, Cape Town, 2008, 1-382.
'Recent changes in women's land rights and contested customary law in South Africa' forthcoming in Journal of Agrarian Change 2012.
'Contested power and apartheid tribal boundaries: the implications of "living customary law" for indigenous accountability mechanisms' 2011 Acta Juridica 174-209.
'Tensions between Vernacular Values that Priortise Basic Needs and State Versions of Customary Law that Contradict them' (co-written with Sindiso Mnisi Weeks) Vol 22 No 3 2011 Stellenbosch Law Review 823-844.
'The resurgance of Tribal Taxes in the Context of Recent Traditional Leadership Laws in South Africa' Vol 27 Part 3 2011 South African Journal on Human Rights 522-545.
'Resurgence of tribal levies: double taxation for the rural poor', 35 March 2011, South African Crime Quarterly, 11-16.
'Rural women re-defining land rights in the context of living customary law', (co-written with Sindiso Mnisi) Vol 25, 2009, South African Journal on Human Rights, 491-516.
'Who told them we want this Bill? The Traditional Courts Bill and rural women', Vol 82, 2009, Agenda - Empowering Women for Gender Equality, 9-22.
'Communal land tenure: Livelihoods, rights and institutions' Co-written with Cousins, B. in Piecemeal Reforms and Calls for Action: Land reform in South Africa. Greenberg, S. Development Update Vol. 4. No.2, July 2003, 55-78.
'People and Whites' Sash Vol. 28. No. 4, February 1996.
'Compensation for Expropriation: The Political and Economic Parameters of Market Value Compensation' Vol. 9, 1993, South African Journal on Human Rights, 422.
'Die Herroeping van die Land Act' Die Suid Afrikaan, No. 30, December 1990/January 1991.
'Contemporary Land Struggles in the Rural Transvaal' in Regional Restructuring in South Africa, edited by J Pickles and D Weiner. Antipode Vol. 23, No. 1, January 1991, Basil Blackwood, Oxford, Cambridge MA.
'Land Policy: Seeking a Common Framework in Local Struggles' Sash, Vol. 33, No. 1, May 1990.
'Enter Black Middle-class Farmers' Work in Progress - 70/71, November/December 1990.
'A binding kind of Wealth - the ties that bind people to the land' Sash Vol. 31, No. 1, June 1988.
'Lifting the Veil - an insight into conditions in the countryside' Sash, Vol. 31, No. 1, June 1988.
'The Myth of Voluntary Removals' Sash, Volume 27 No.1 May 1984.
'Mense en Witmense' Suid Afrikaan Winter 84, No. 4, 1984.
'The Reserve Army, Legislation and Labour Action in South Africa' by Aninka Claassens, A Sitas, P Tobiansky and J Yawitch Africa Perspectives No. 14, Summer 1980.
'Focus on Riekert - Unemployment in Kwa Zulu' South African Labour Bulletin Vol. 5(4), 1979.
CHAPTERS IN BOOKS
'Contested Power and Apartheid Tribal Boundaries' in Hanri Mostert and Thomas Bennett Pluralism and Development Juta&Co, 2011.
'Tensions between Vernacular Values that Priortise Basic Needs and State Versions of Customary Law that Contradict them' (co-written with Sindiso Mnisi Weeks) in Sandra Liebenberg and Geo Quinot Law and Poverty Juta&Co, 2011.
'Women, land and power: the impact of the Communal Land Rights Act' (co-written with Sizani Ngubane) in Claassens, A. & Cousins, B. (eds). Land, Power & Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa's Communal Land Rights Act, UCT Press, Cape Town, 2008, 154-183.
'Power, accountability and apartheid borders: the impact of recent laws on struggles over land rights' in Claassens, A. & Cousins, B. (eds). Land, Power & Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa's Communal Land Rights Act.
'The Kalkfontein land purchases: eighty years on and still struggling for ownership' (co-written with Durkje Gilfillan) in Claassens, A. & Cousins, B. (eds). Land, Power & Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa's Communal Land Rights Act.
'Stealing restitution and selling land allocations: Dixie, Mayaeyane and Makuleke' (with Moray Hathorn) in Claassens, A. & Cousins, B. (eds). Land, Power & Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa's Communal Land Rights Act.
'Customary law and zones of chiefly sovereignty: the impact of government policy on whose voices prevail in the making and changing of customary law' in Claassens, A. & Cousins, B. (eds). Land, Power & Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa's Communal Land Rights Act.
'The Communal Land Rights Act and Women: does the Act remedy or entrench discrimination and the distortion of the customary?' Acta Juridica 2005 also published in Advancing Women's Rights Murray, C and O'Sullivan, M. (eds). Juta and Co, Cape Town, 2005.
Co-written with Cousins, B. 'Communal land rights and democracy in post-apartheid South Africa', in: Jones, P. and Stokke, K. (eds) Democratising Development. The Politics of Socio-Economic Rights in South Africa, Leiden and Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 2005.
Co-written with Cousins, B. 'Communal tenure from above and from below: Land rights, authority and livelihoods in rural South Africa', in Evers, S; Spierenberg, M. and Wels, H. (eds), Competing Jurisdictions: Settling Land Claims in Africa, Amsterdam, Brill, 2005.
Co-written with Cousins, B. 'Communal land rights, democracy and traditional leaders in post-apartheid South Africa', in Securing land and resource rights in Africa: Pan-African perspectives, Saruchera, M (ed), PLAAS. University of the Western Cape, 2004.
'South African proposals for tenure reform: the draft Land Rights bill' in Evolving land rights, policy and tenure in Africa. Toulmin, C and JF Quan (eds), DFID/IIED/NRI, London. 2000, 247-266.
'Land rights and local decision making processes: proposals for tenure reform' in At the Crossroads: Land and Agrarian reform in South Africa into the 21st century. Cousins B. (ed). PLAAS (UWC), NLC, Cape Town. 2000, 129-143.
'For whites only - land ownership in South Africa' De Klerk, M. (ed), A harvest of Discontent - the Land Question in South Africa, IDASA, 1991, 43-63.
'Rural Land Struggles in the Eighties' in No Place to Rest: Forced Removals and the Law in South Africa, O'Regan, K. and Murray,C. (eds), Oxford University Press, 1990.
Interviews in Working Women - A portrait of South Africa's black women workers, Sached, Ravan, 1985.
'An assessment of self help projects in a district of Transkei' in Economics of health care - Volume 2, Wilson, F. and Westcott, G. (eds), Ravan Press Johannesburg, 1980.
RECENT ARTICLES IN THE PRESS
'The Traditional Courts Bill is a Legal Travesty' in Mail & Guardian 28th September 2012.
'Unaccountable chiefs are a recipe for a new Marikana in Business Day 18th September 2012.
'Despite changes, bill still flawed: The Traditional Courts bill - and Justice Department's efforts to fix it - imposes a separate legal regime on people living in the former homelands' in Witness 26th August 2012.
'Too many chiefs, not enough honesty' in Cape Times, The Star, Natal Mercury 24th August 2012.
The Communal Land Rights Act and Women: Does the Act remedy or entrench discrimination and the distortion of the customary? PLAAS Occasional Paper 28. University of the Western Cape, 2005.
Community views on the Communal Land Rights Bill. PLAAS Research Report No.15. University of Western Cape. August 2003.
'It is not easy to challenge a chief': Lessons from Rakwadi. PLAAS Research Report No. 9. University of Western Cape, October 2001.
Report on Land Rights Co-written with Gildenhuys, A. Dr. and Njobe, F. Dr. Constitutional Assembly Working Paper, 11 September 1995.
'Land through Birthright - the Struggles of Labour Tenants' Cross Times Magazine, February/March 1991.
'Who owns South Africa? Can the repeal of the Land Acts de-racialise land ownership in South Africa?' CALS Occasional Paper No. 11, February 1991. Reprinted with interview in Monitor Magazine, June 1991.
Introduction to 'Ownership & Tenure' De Klerk, M. (ed), A harvest of Discontent - the Land Question in South Africa, IDASA, 1991, 23-24.
'The Conflict over Rural Land: Competing Claims to Land and Different Ways of Looking at the Resolution of Claims to Land' in Land, Labour and Human Rights, edited by Budlender, G., Department of Adult Education and Extra Mural Studies, University of Cape Town, 1991.
'Umhlaba' TRAC publication Black Sash, November, 1989.
'A Toehold on the Land' TRAC publication Black Sash, May, 1988.