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I was, in terms of her racial and rhetorical co-ordinates, the representative of 4.5million white people in the country. This was race essentialism laid bare - and little wonder we were veering all over the map.

On the day of this TV joust, the IMF had published a report with the alarming statistic that inflation in Venezuela was soon to hit one million percent. Since this beggared country - once the richest in South America - is the inspiration for both the EFF's red berets and their land policy, I thought she might want to explain?

It has nothing to do with policy, my opponent confidently advisEd. "It is all about corruption." On this basis, South African inflation should also be in the statistical stratosphere, instead of our earthly 4.6%. After all, Ms Mashego had just raved on about ANC corruption as well.

I was reminded sharply on Tuesday night of the rebuke "no one forced you to do this" when I guest-anchored the eNCA TV showLet's Have it Out. I selected the topic, "expropriation without compensation - the economic consequences". Intended as a sort of TV bloodsport, my opponent for the evening was EFF Gauteng chairwoman Mandisa Mashego. From the opening bell, or question, I remembered, too late alas, Thomas Friedman's wisdom on the dialogue of the deaf in the Middle East: "If you ask what is 2+2 and your opponent says 5, you can still have a discussion; but if he answers 87, you are on different planets."So this proved in our debate about land in South Africa. We were Venus and Mars. I thought it of interest to ask her how undermining property rights might sit with the 1% of taxpayers (480,000) who pay the bulk of personal taxes, presumably own properties and are highly mobile and able to exit South Africa. She was having none of it. Instead of an answer on the merits, I was suddenl...

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