Around 12-million South Africans badly need politicians who understand election results. The signs for them are not promising. The 12-million have featured here before. They live in areas controlled by traditional leaders which were once apartheid’s Bantustans. They are angry because the government has given chiefs greater power over land which they use not only to take it from small farmers but to enrich themselves at rural people’s expense. They have been voicing their anger by voting against the ANC. Until last week, the ANC seemed to have heard them. It announced it was pressing ahead with a bill, published in 2017, which would transfer control of the land from chiefs to the people. Last week, the ANC seemed to have blotted the message from its mind. Traditional leaders, the Zulu king in particular, are angry because the high-level panel chaired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe criticised the way they use their land powers. The ANC has been hurrying to assure them that it h...

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