It was surprising to read that BMI Research appears to regard the government’s commitment to introduce expropriation without compensation as mere politicking. (Land debate a tactic to offset EFF and ANC radicals, says BMI Research, July 11.) To see these developments as an exercise in placation of troublesome allies by President Cyril Ramaphosa, and to believe he will not allow them to threaten the economy, is to severely misinterpret them and to understate the dangers. The current drive represents the latest iteration of a long-standing campaign to abridge property rights. We have counted more than two dozen distinct moves in this direction, not confined to land, over the past decade. President Ramaphosa is at best ambivalent on this question. He has repeatedly expressed his commitment to expropriation without compensation, and it is unclear whether the various caveats – that policy must not disrupt the economy or imperil food production – offer more than vague, nonenforceable assu...

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