The leaked working paper by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, "What then about land expropriation without compensation?", has shone a helpful spotlight on aspects of the land debate that we’d be foolish to ignore. In the paper, the foundation makes two important statements. First, it recognises that we must "firmly and effectively act on the land question, among others, to redress the injustices of the past, as called for by our constitution" through proactive land reform and restitution as envisaged by section 25 of the constitution.

Second and most crucially, it argues that the matter of land expropriation is "entirely a tactical and operational matter and should not be raised to the level of principle and strategic importance, as has happened". This, the foundation argues, is a departure from the ANC’s central, founding principle of nonracialism, a principle that was given expression in section one of our national constitution at the Codesa negotiations.

This has been the DA’s unwavering approach to the land question.

Redress is a constitutional principle the DA not only holds dear but practices wherever we are in government. Addressing the ills of our past in a collaborative manner that brings together all South Africans who were divided in the past goes to the very core of redress. And the land question is about redress.

SA’s history of racial dispossession has left the country with skewed patterns of ownership that exclude most black South Africans from access to and ownership of land. This must be fixed, there can be no doubt about that. We believe in giving every South African the right and opportunity to own property of their own. Secure private ownership gives people the chance to put a foot on the ladder of real intergenerational wealth building. Home ownership lends dignity, pride and a sense of shared stake in the country and its fortunes.

South Africans aspire to property ownership. This is confirmed by polling released this week by the Institute of Race Relations, which found that a full 90% of voters of all races "strongly opposed" or "somewhat opposed" expropriation if it were to apply to property they may own.

The way the ANC has approached land redress is, as the Mbeki Foundation puts it, "‘narrow, racialistic and chauvinist". It is less about justice and more about cynical division for electoral ends — about pitting one group against another. This approach mirrors that of the apartheid government and is antithetical to our project of building a united, nonracial and prosperous SA.

The unavoidable truth remains: the constitution is not an impediment to meaningful land redress. Rather it is the lack of government implementation of the constitution. In short, we have a lack of political will by the ANC to achieve redress. This constitution is now being scapegoated for this failure, with potentially profoundly negative consequences for nation building.

There is no denying that the manner in which we seek to achieve redress and justice in relation to land is complex. This is appreciated by stakeholders across the board. Yet it seems the more complicated our challenges become, the simpler the proposed solutions are.

It is not a binary, either/or choice. Nonracialism is the bedrock on which we will bring all South Africans together. And without real, meaningful redress, we will not bring all South Africans together. Both the principles of redress and nonracialism are crucial to the challenge of building one SA for all.

This is important as the ANC is seemingly willing to sacrifice nonracialism and nation building at the altar of populist political expediency. It is this that I reject in its entirely. It is dangerous and destructive.

Where the DA governs we have made huge strides in achieving redress without sacrificing other constitutional principles. When it comes to land redress, we have already distributed over 100,000 title deeds, empowering more than 100,000 families with ownership of an economically empowering asset.

Building one SA for all is not a Kumbaya, let’s hold hands and leave the unjust status quo as it stands situation. Far from it, in fact. Building an inclusive SA for all requires that we come together as we did in 1994 and work together — across racial, cultural, religious and gender divides — to heal the injustices of our past. We must do the same as it pertains to land.

Where the DA governs we have made huge strides in achieving redress without sacrificing other constitutional principles. When it comes to land redress, we have already distributed over 100,000 title deeds, empowering more than 100,000 families with ownership of an economically empowering asset.

We have established share equity schemes, whereby those who work the land share in the profits of the activity on the land. Where the DA governs, we have a 60% success rate in agricultural land reform, achieved by giving comprehensive support to emerging black farmers. In contrast, the ANC national government has a 90% failure rate when it comes to land reform projects.

We have established a land reform advisory desk and district land reform committees to provide the necessary support to emerging farmers. And we are the only provincial government to commission an external evaluation of all land reform farms within the province.

Building one SA for all requires of us to accept the frank reality that the ANC has failed us, and that the DA is the only alternative to lead our country forward. We need to look beyond the "good ANC" versus "bad ANC" prism and to an offer for a better, brighter future.

The ANC has abandoned its stance of nonracialism in favour of EFF-appeasing populist policies. When liberation movements turned political parties begin to lose support, they resort to the politics of division.

This has no place in our nation.

SA belongs to all who live in it. And it requires all to roll up their sleeves to work together from the point of departure of the values and spirit of our constitution.

• Maimane is DA leader.