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The year 2018 can be remembered as the one in which the global fire of populism set politics alight in SA. Given that it is the year before high-stakes national elections, it has not been unexpected. Policy-wise it was the year in which parliament resolved to amend the constitution to explicitly allow for land expropriation without compensation — an ideal championed by the ANC and the EFF. However, South Africans saw parliament ignore thousands of written submissions on the matter as it finalised its report, essentially shutting out the voices of those opposed to the amendment. The distinct racial tone the debate took on even moved former president Thabo Mbeki to write a discussion paper in which he said the ANC was abandoning its historical nonracial values. It was also a year in which the DA marched in the Cape Flats, calling for the army to be deployed to deal with the gangsterism that plagues the area. During the march, the party’s supporters carried posters bearing the words "A...

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