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By writing a 30-page thoughtful denunciation of land expropriation without compensation, the ideological panacea of our time, Thabo Mbeki has thrown himself back into the political thicket. And a good thing it is too. Reading the document, one gets the impression this could be a teachable moment for many in Mbeki's own party, including some in the leadership. They didn't fully comprehend the implication of shamelessly - and cowardly - hanging on to Julius Malema's coat-tails on the land issue. By so doing, they've thus changed the character and mission of the ANC. It has become something of an unwritten rule that former presidents shy away from delving into current debates, let alone criticise their successors on issues. They're not supposed to be seen or heard. Which is a pity because their lived experience, good or bad, can enrich our public discourse. They'd bring a perspective that's often overlooked or lost to those too close to the coalface. They've had the luxury of having sa...

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