Expecting ANC leaders not to talk about economic change is like expecting corporate executives to denounce profit. The question is not whether the ANC calls for change but who in the ANC does it and why. Commentators sympathetic to business now declare that President Cyril Ramaphosa has lived up to expectations on state capture, but has disappointed on policy. One reason for the second judgment is his support for land expropriation without compensation. Since he is now backing national health insurance, this too will no doubt be seen as a sign that he is a captive of radical populists. This misreads political reality. Any ANC leader – and any politician in touch with much of black opinion – has to face a reality that is hardly new to readers of this column: many of the inequalities that existed before 1994 are still with us, and this society is still a long way from racial equality. Given this, to expect an ANC president to focus on market-friendly policies without talking about ine...

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