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 unwaveri...

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