Last week, SA clung to investment-grade status at Moody’s. The call the ratings agency made underlines the sense of hope and confidence that change in the country’s leadership has inspired. As part of its rationale for maintaining the country’s rating (and improving its outlook), the agency pointed to the strengthening of the country’s institutions as an important factor in its reasoning. In commentary after the decision, many analysts have pointed to land reform — in particular the move by Parliament to consider amendments to the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation — as a major wrinkle in what would otherwise be a certain upturn in SA’s economic prospects. In the aftermath of the Zuma presidency the argument has been made countless times that institutions such as the media, civil society organisations and the judiciary rallied against a corrupt administration — and prevailed. Even when the executive was mired in corruption and incompetence and Parliame...

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