There are genuine reasons for anxiety about expropriation without compensation (EWC), among them proliferating land invasions, nervous international investors and vulnerable financial institutions. But policy contests tend to fade over time as citizens tire of the complexity of setting the world to rights. There is every chance that the heat will have left the expropriation issue before the end of May 2019. EWC started out confusingly due to mixed messages in the ANC’s Nasrec conference resolutions. That confusion has now been deepened by the creation of overlapping processes for deliberating on the modalities of EWC. Parliament’s joint constitutional review committee has solicited public submissions on how to facilitate expropriation. President Cyril Ramaphosa has created an interministerial committee on land reform to provide political oversight and “co-ordinate, integrate and ensure accelerated implementation of the recommendations of the joint committee”. In addition, the presid...

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