There are many valid reasons to criticise this country’s politicians. That they take too much notice of what voters think is not one of them. A common criticism of the ANC’s decision to change the constitution to clarify when land can be expropriated without compensation is that it did this as a ploy to win votes. There are two problems with this claim. First, it isn’t accurate. Second, it blames politicians for doing what, in a democracy, they ought to do. There is no evidence that changing the constitution will win the ANC votes. This would be true only if we had clear signs that most voters want a changed property clause and that they are more likely to vote for a party that changes it. There are no such clear signs. The public hearings organised by parliament do not tell us what most voters think. Only a tiny fraction of the population attends hearings and those who do are the most vocal and committed on all sides of the argument. They often claim to speak for others but no-one ...

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