I would like to think it is possible for SA to debate land reform without resorting to a fixed script, with predetermined lines, first written under the fearful conditions of the early 1990s. Like in many parts of the world, land reform must address itself to the past. It would be short-sighted to devise programmes that do not speak to the history of a society. Where that history involves violent dispossession, economic considerations must be embedded in the pursuit for social justice. But we can at least attempt to take a fresh look, rather than rehashing the same old dichotomy: redress and transformation pitted against the need to provide certainty on property rights and agricultural productivity. I am not saying this is a false dichotomy. These are real tensions that have been articulated from the preparatory phase of SA’s democratic transition to this day. There are other ways of framing debates on land reform. In October 2017, The Economist ran an article on land reform in Asia...

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