Investors and local white voters, alarmed at the economic consequences, don't matter here. My favourite electoral analyst, Dawie Scholtz, notes that in the 12 by-elections held since Ramaphosa became president, the DA has increased its vote against the ANC. Ramaphosa doesn't have white support and he's not even looking for it.

What he wants to do is steamroll the EFF and he is doing that by adopting and adapting their policy positions, thin and implausible though almost all are, and taking territory back from them. Without Jacob Zuma and corruption to throw at the ANC, the EFF is struggling and Ramaphosa is trying not to give them space.

Angry, disappointed and depressed as some people might be over President Cyril Ramaphosa's apparently hurried and possibly even panicky late-night statement this week that the ANC would formulate a change to the constitution's Bill of Rights to explicitly allow for the expropriation of land without compensation, all is not lost. What was at stake was not expropriation without compensation. Most South Africans, and even most white ones, had come to accept it would happen. Three things made Ramaphosa's announcement worse.First, the announcement, which suddenly popped up on the nation's TV screens, was made to look like an official statement. But it was a sleight of hand. It had, in fact, been prerecorded after a two-day meeting of the ANC's national executive committee (NEC), and sent to all TV outlets. It was combined with an array of economic stimulus measures, none of which sounded in the least convincing. Second, Ramaphosa spoke as ANC president, despite the impression created tha...

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