Carol Paton Writer at Large

To anybody who thought the political noise around land was populist posturing, think again. Over the past week the country has been burning. In Soweto, Eldorado Park, Mitchells Plain and Kuyga in Port Elizabeth, burning barricades blocked roads and people clashed with police and sometimes with neighbouring communities. At times like this, it feels like SA is an irredeemably violent place with no hope for the future. But all of these violent episodes had one thing in common: the call for land. The wait for a Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) house — now called a Breaking New Ground (BNG) house and much improved on the earlier models — is 10 to 16 years. Where do you live while you wait for a house? How much faith do you have that you will be allocated one, whether or not you have engaged in bribery to get a better place in the queue? It is interesting that in each of the land protests over the past week protesters have arrived at the same answer to this question. Thabang...

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