PURPOSE OF THE PAPER: Alexandra was proclaimed in 1912 as the first formal township in South Africa where blacks could obtain ownership. Over the past century, a number of watershed changes in layout and ownership have taken place, most notably the promulgation of the 1913 Land Act that prohibited the proclamation of land for black ownership and a series of expropria-tions, resulting from apartheid policies, that took place from 1950 onwards, culminating in a con-solidation in 1985 that led to further expropriations.

In 2011, former land owners established land claims based upon the pre-1985 map. These claims were complicated by the fact that a number of residents had received legal right of owner-ship after the consolidation, while a number of new residents had moved to Alexandra since 1985.

Investigation of the validity of the claims required a comprehensive study of the change of owner-ship from the original proclamation (1912) to the situation in 2011.

METHODOLOGY. An analysis of current and historical development and management of Alexandra is provided, supplemented by a visual overview of the changing patterns of ownership and densi-fication. The present status of land claims and their legal implications is summarized and a reliable estimate of the present population of Alexandra is provided.

FINDINGS: The total population as determined by this study is more than 60 per cent more than the formal 2011 census estimate, resulting in a density of more than 44 400 persons per hectare. It was also found that Occupiers on one stand can have different kind of rights. However, ade-quate documentation has been assembled to drive the process of land tenure upgrading.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: The higher than previously estimated population density has severe im-plications - physical as well as political - for future planning of this vibrant area, as it is adjacent to Sandton, the financial capital of Southern Africa, it is situated on prime land within one of the key growth areas of Johannesburg, and it is bordered by key roads and highways. The importance of a reliable estimate of the ownership of property in Alexandra becomes even more apparent when the implications of the Restitution Act (Restitution of Land Rights Act No. 22 of 1994) are consid-ered.