It is far from clear what anyone who talks about radical economic transformation (RET) means by the term. President Jacob Zuma will say it is mostly about the uncompensated expropriation of land. The new adviser to the finance minister, Prof Chris Malikane, will say it means nationalising the commanding heights of the economy. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa uses the term mostly to rebrand existing policies and to insist on their urgency even in the face of slowing growth. As these are quite different ideas about economic transformation and radicalism, a key question to ask about any of them is who will pay for the radical version of RET. One answer to this question is simple, seductive and catastrophically wrong. This is that RET will be paid for by those who benefited from apartheid and from the "neoliberal" order of the past two decades. Between the expropriation of their ill-gotten riches and the imposition of more taxes on their earnings, RET will transfer assets and incomes f...

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