Rural Community Perceptions on Land Use Change and its Effects on Their Agricultural Practices in Vulindlela Traditional Area, Kwazulu-Natal Province of South Africa


  • N.E. Zondi


Rural communities, Land use change, Agricultural practices, De-agrarianisation


This study assessed the level of awareness among the Vulindlela rural community regarding land use and land cover changes occurring in their community. Additionally, this study sought to examine the effects of these land use and land cover changes on the agricultural practices of the Vulindlela rural community. The study employs a mixed-methods approach, combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Secondary data from Statistics South Africa and the Msunduzi Local Municipality were used to determine the relationship between population growth and housing unit expansion. Primary data were collected through semi-structured interviews to capture the community’s perceptions of land use change and its impacts on agricultural activities. The study results indicated a strong relationship (r = 0.81, t = 2.39, df = 3, p = 0.10) between population growth and an increase in housing units. Respondents also noted that land use and cover change has occurred in Vulindlela. The driver of this change is an increase in residential housing units built on land designated for agriculture (crop and pastoral fields). Residential development on agricultural fields is a result of the de-agrarianisation by the local community. De-agrarianisation drivers in Vulindlela include a lack of agricultural equipment, high costs (time and money) associated with agriculture, inadequate government support, increased dependence on government grants and lack of interest in the younger generation in agriculture.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


BHATTA, B., 2010. Causes and consequences of urban growth and sprawl. In B. Bhatta (ed.), Analysis of urban growth and sprawl from remote sensing data. Berlin: Springer. 17 – 36.

BILA, S. & BIYASE, M., 2022. Determinants of Subjective Poverty in Rural and Urban Areas of South Africa. EDWRG Working Paper Number 02-2022.

BLAIR, D., SHACKLETON, C.M. & MOGRABI, P.J., 2018. Cropland abandonment in South African smallholder communal lands: Land cover change (1950–2010) and farmer perceptions of contributing factors. Land., 7(4): 121.

BRYCESON, D.F. & VAN DER LAAN, C., 1999. De-agrarianisation in Africa: Proceedings of the de-agrarianisation and rural employment. Working Paper, Volume 20. Leiden: African Studies.

BUHAUG, H. & URDAL, H., 2013. An surbanisation bomb? Population growth and social disorder in cities. Glob. Environ. Change., 23: 1 – 10.

CHITONGE, H., 2013. Land use and rural livelihoods in South Africa: Emerging evidence from the Eastern Cape. J. Polit. Econ., 2: 1-40.

CLARA. J. & DU TOIT, A., 2007. Adverse incorporation and agrarian policy in South Africa. CPRC Working Paper 81. Manchester, UK: Chronic Poverty Research Centre.

CLIMATE-DATA.ORG., 2023. Pietermaritzburg Climate (South Africa). Available from (04 July 2023).

COHEN, B., 2006. Urbanisation in developing countries: Current trends, future projections, and key challenges for sustainability. Technol. Soc., 28: 63 – 80.

COULIBALY, B. & LI, S., 2020. Impact of agricultural land loss on rural livelihoods in peri-urban areas: Empirical evidence from Sebougou, Mali. Land., 9(12): 470.

DANILES, R.C., PATRIDGE, A., KEKANA, D.I. & MUSUNDWA, S., 2013. Rural livelihoods in South Africa. Cape Town: SALDRU, University of Cape Town.

DENG, X., HUANG, J., ROZELLE, S., ZHANG, J. & LI, Z., 2015. Impact of surbanisation on cultivated land changes in China. Land Use Pol., 45: 1-7.

JIANG, L., DENG, X. & SETO, K.C., 2013. The impact of urban expansion on agricultural land use intensity in China. Land Use Pol., 35: 33-39.

KOCH, J., 2011. The food security policy context in South Africa. Brazil: International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.

MASHAWANA, N., THWALA, D. & AIGBAVBOA, C., 2018. Challenges of Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP) Houses in South Africa. Proceedings of the International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management, Washington DC, USA, 27-29 September, 1695-1702.

MAY, J., WOODLARD, I. & KLASEN, S., 2000. The nature and measurement of poverty and inequality. In J. May (ed.), Poverty and inequality in South Africa: Meeting the Challenge. Cape Town: David Philip. 73-96.

MOHSIN, M. & KHAN, A.A., 2017. Analysis of the determinants of agricultural land conversion (ALC) into housing colonies in Bahawalpur City, Pakistan. Pakistan J Agri. Res., 54(3).

MOLEPO, S., 2023. A new rural land grab as urban elites build homes on customary farming areas. Daily Maverick. Available from (Accessed 5 July 2023).

MSUNDUZI MUNICIPALITY., 2011. Msunduzi Municipality Housing Sector Plan and Slums Clearance Strategy – Final Report. Pietermaritzburg.

MSUNDUZI MUNICIPALITY., 2014. Msunduzi Municipality Housing Sector Plan Review and Informal Settlements Management and Control Strategy. Pietermaritzburg.

MSUNDUZI MUNICIPALITY., 2016. Vulindlela local area plant spatial framework. Pietermaritzburg.

MSUNDUZI MUNICIPALITY., 2017. Msunduzi Municipality Integrated Environmental Management Plan for 2017/22. Pietermaritzburg.

NCUBE, N., TANGA, P.T. & BHUMIRA, B., 2014. The impacts of de-agrarianisation on the socio-economic well-being of rural inhabitants in South Africa. J. Hum. Ecol., 48: 399-406.

NEVES, N. & DU TOIT, A., 2013. Rural livelihoods in South Africa: Complexity, vulnerability and differentiation. J. Agrar. Chang., 13: 93-115.

PELSAR, A. & REDELINGHUYS, N., 2008. Trends, changes and challenges at the interface of population, environment and development in South Africa. Pretoria: Department of Social Development.

POPULATION REFERENCE BUREAU (PRB)., 2016. World Population Data Sheet. Washington: PRB.

RAMANKUTTY, N., FOLEY, J. A. & OLEJNICZAK, N.J., 2002. People on the land: Changes in global population and croplands during the 20th century. Ambio., 31: 251 – 257.

SHISANYA, S.O., 2015. Rural households’ perception of the effect of climate change on food security in uMzinyathi District Municipality of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Doctoral thesis, University of KwaZulu Natal.

SINYOLO, S., MUDHARA, M. & WALE, E., 2017. The impact of social grant-dependency on agricultural entrepreneurship among rural households in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. JDA., 51(3): 63-76.

SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY INSTITUTE., 2014. A Framework for investing in ecological infrastructure in South Africa. Pretoria: South African National Biodiversity Institute.

STATISTA., 2018. South Africa: Urbanisation from 2007 to 2017. Available from

STATISTICS SOUTH AFRICA., 2020. Population of South Africa. Available from

THE WORLD BANK., 2007. Dhaka: Improving living conditions for the urban poor. South Asia Region: Sustainable Development Unit.

TURPIE, J., WINKLER, H., SPALDING-FECHER, R. & MIDGLEY, G., 2002. Economic impacts of climate change in South Africa: A preliminary analysis of unmitigated damage costs. Southern Waters Ecological Research & Consulting & Energy and Development Research Centre, University of Cape Town, Cape Town.

WILLIAMS, J.J., 2000. South Africa: Urban transformation. Cities., 17: 167 – 183.

WORLDOMETER., 2020. World population. Available from




How to Cite

Zondi, N. (2023). Rural Community Perceptions on Land Use Change and its Effects on Their Agricultural Practices in Vulindlela Traditional Area, Kwazulu-Natal Province of South Africa. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension (SAJAE), 51(4), 17–30. Retrieved from