Background and history of LEAP
LEAP came into existence in 1988 when a group of KwaZulu-Natal land practitioners from NGOs, government and the private sector began to focus on why the communal property institutions (CPIs) set up under land reform appeared to be failing. The Legal Entity Assessment Project, as it was initially known, questioned the widely held view that the land reform communal property associations (CPAs) and trusts needed capacity building. Instead, LEAP argued that there were no clear indicators for assessing success or failure and that these micro institutions were overloaded with development objectives that often were the proper responsibility of government. In the search for firm foundational objectives, LEAP suggested that tenure security for individuals and the group as an entity was the primary purpose of CPIs, and that other development objectives could be built on this foundation.
Thinking practically and conceptually about how to achieve this took LEAP on a long journey that gradually pulled in people from across the country in both the rural and urban sectors who were working on land administration, customary tenure, housing and tenure arrangements. Leap also took on a wider range of thematic concerns that included authority and democracy, discourses of property, gender, HIV and Aids, and poverty and livelihoods. LEAP’s name changed to Learning Approaches to Securing Tenure to reflect these broadened concerns, but at all times the project retained a set of principles that continued to guide the work. The most important of these was that thinking and intervention had to begin with understanding how people in real settings lived their lives.
The complexity of the project, its geography, the themes, the number of people involved, its approach and commitment to action research required highly skilled facilitation and open-ended, creative leadership. The project was fortunate to find these qualities in Tessa Cousins, who remained committed to the work until her untimely death in May 2011. Tessa was in the process of compiling a book on Leap’s thinking and work. The book project is being continued under the leadership of her brother, Professor Ben Cousins from the Programme for Agrarian Change at the University of the Western Cape, and her colleague Lauren Royston, with funding from IDRC and Urban Land Mark, along with other colleagues that she worked closely with, including her close friend and colleague Donna Hornby. The book is expected to be available from the end of 2013. This website is a collection of the body of work produced by Leap over the years of its life.
This library has the following sections clicking on the highlighted names of the sections will take you to that page.
Below here we have History and reports.
Publications, with subsections covering papers, presentations and pamphlets.
Policy, with subsections covering engaging government, impacts on livelihoods and legal.
Practice, with subsections covering land reform and legal entities, tenure and language for legal entities.
past LEAP members correspondence and archives sections
Learning about promoting tenure security for the poor and vulnerable. Report on LEAP Symposium 6-8 November 2007, Goedgedaght, Malmesbury. By Tessa Cousins.
Muden Valley Livelihoods Field Survey Report. Strengthening livelihoods analysis to support tenure research. By Zibambeleni – LEAP Projects. June 2007.
Governance Project. Two-page
Craigieburn village map.
Research Project Proposal to the IDRC RPE Programme: Developing community based governance of wetlands in Craigieburn Village. January 2006. By Leap Project through MIDNET with Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD
Tenure security and land administration in rural
and urban South Africa. Proposal to the Joseph Rowntree Charitable
2006 . By Leap Project through MIDNET.
Leap-CAP collaboration project. Annual Progress Report for Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. January 2007. Prepared by Leap-CAP.
Report to the Ford Foundation from the Natal
Midlands Rural Development Network on the Legal Entity Assessment Project
(LEAP). Phase 4 – set-up proposal to
explore alternative land tenure systems. 1 June 2004 – 30 June 2005.
Research Project Proposal to Legal Resources Centre and Urban LandMark: Evaluating aspects of the deeds registration system in the context of the Land Titles Adjustment Act, No. of in Fingo Village, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa. February 2008. By Rosalie Kingwill.
Report on LEAP urban projects learning workshop, the Cottages, Observatory, Johannesburg. 10 March 2008.
website development covering letter to project leaders. By Rosalie Kingwill.
Leap static website content