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Who would have expected that on the day that SA’s parliamentarians confirmed that they were hellbent on taking the economy on a potentially ruinous path, the rand would actually gain? Yet Thursday’s constitutional review committee’s recommendation to tinker with the property rights provision in the constitution was accompanied by a gain in the rand against the pound that was, at least on an intraday basis, the biggest since Cyril Ramaphosa won the ANC leadership in December. For the ANC members of that committee, it would be a mistake to see that gain as some sort of endorsement of their populist-driven move, which comes despite the absence of any evidence that the constitution had prevented the implementation of land reform in the more than 24 years the party has been in power. Ramaphosa’s initial announcement of the ANC policy change in July was notable for its lack of conviction. If anything, his contradictory statement talking up the need to rewrite the constitution, while at th...

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