For the ANC national executive committee to announce it would seek to change the Constitution to accommodate the expropriation of land without compensation is a huge change of heart.
President Cyril Ramaphosa's reservations about expropriation without compensation are well known. But even as he danced about his late-night announcement on Tuesday — "the ANC will finalise a proposed amendment to the Constitution that outlines more clearly the conditions under which expropriation without compensation can be effected" — you could tell he was lost.
His investment envoys‚ charged with raking in $100bn in the next five years‚ may as well stay at home. The right-wing farmer lobbies and SA’s competitors will get heard first.
Ramaphosa will explain. The ANC will explain. Yes‚ we know no one is going to lose their home. Yes‚ there will be no land invasions. Yes‚ with an accompanying infrastructure build‚ expropriation without compensation might even be a growth opportunity.
But it’s too late for explaining and‚ anyway‚ that’s now‚ with Ramaphosa still around. What waits to replace him one day are some of the most frightening politicians on the planet. Besides‚ when you’re explaining‚ you’re losing.
Cry the beloved country.
Read Peter Bruce's full column here