Although he is the wrong person advocating it, Mngxitama is correct that there needs to be public debate on big issues. Apart from debates in parliament, we do not have a culture of issue-driven, vigorous public debates, particularly between the political protagonists.

We tend to have pockets of dialogue, mostly involving academics, analysts and commentators that reinforces their echo chambers.

During election season we have never had the leaders of political parties debate each other so that the voting public can make informed decisions about where the parties stand and how they measure up against each other on big policy issues.

The last active remnant of the Gupta empire, Andile Mngxitama, has challenged EFF leader Julius Malema to a debate on land. This was after scuffles broke out between EFF and ANC supporters at a dialogue on the land issue at Unisa on Monday. Malema responded to the commotion, tweeting that he did not think the EFF leadership should participate in any debate that involved "clowns" like Mngxitama "because we legitimise them". Mngxitama has since challenged EFF leaders to a public debate on land. While a debate between firebrands might be enthralling to watch, it is doubtful there would be any prospect of genuine dialogue.I spoke at an event at which members of Mngxitama's Black First Land First group were in attendance and they did everything possible to prevent any meaningful engagement. They heckled the speakers throughout and then hurled insults as we left. Last year Mngxitama and his goons attempted to storm a media dialogue in Cape Town hosted by the Daily Maverick. They did not s...

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