Moral panic on land reform blocks the path to inclusiveness
Not only has the land reform process failed over 24 years, it has become the touchpoint for every failing aspect of our society, writes Owen Skae
Differing degrees of moral panic are being flashed in the mainstream and social media on the impact of expropriation without compensation. The concept of moral panic was first coined by Stanley Cohen, an SA activist who left the country in the 1960s and came up with it while doing research at the University of London on the media coverage of rebellious youth who were deemed to be behaving in a dangerously antisocial manner. Widespread fear was spread about how this could destroy the moral fabric of society, which led to a vast exaggeration of the issue with fiction being presented as truth. Cohen wrote: "In this environment society conjures folk devils out of those who go against the social norm and need to be, at best, stamped out and, at worst, dealt with in such a way that the social order doesn’t change." This leads me to the question of whether the moral panic over the land issue in SA is exaggerated or truthful. Given that land and property is the single most emotive issue in ...