Thursday, August 9, 2018


Perhaps it is superfluous to point this out, but all the articles, commentaries and issues they raise to so much heat are part of the 'national debate' that was long promised about 'land' in South Africa. How far this national debate is proving useful rather than divisive is itself debatable, but the fact is a crucial debate is now on.
So far several things should at least be clearer if not completely clear:
1] Mr Cyril Ramaphosa spoke on tv on July 31 as president of the African National Congress, not state president, hence the ANC flags behind him; 2] a number of statements have come from the ANC as a party, not formally from parliament or the SA government;
3] these various statements and resolutions are different, even contradictory, reflecting serious differences of approach in the governing party and efforts to accommodate them; 4] more broadly across political parties and society, there is general agreement that Expropriation Without Compensation - the shorthand for the current debate - would be disastrous for SA's economy;

5] the Economic Freedom Fighters have a 'policy' to nationalise all land and the ANC do not; 6] no land is presently being expropriated, excepting illegal occupations that may be politically organised;

7] any final legislation on EWC faces very complex and on-going constitutional and legislative obstacles.
It is reasonable to argue that the way the land question is finally settled will also settle the kind of dispensation the Republic of South Africa is: a democracy or something else. But what is happening so far is what happens in a democracy, not in an authoritarian state.






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