Ramaphosa's big thing is the economy. A growing economy is the antidote to so many of the country's social ills. And Ramaphosa, successful businessman that he is, knows that land expropriation without compensation is anathema to a growing economy. You can have one or the other. You can't have both.

Having failed to stop the conference resolution on land expropriation, he could, as party leader, have argued for the parliamentary decision on the matter to be postponed. Sure, he would have taken a lot of flak for it, but leaders have to fight their corner. In fact that's exactly what the ANC did with its conference resolution on the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank. It quietly put it on hold. Yet on the land issue, Ramaphosa allowed his party to meekly piggyback on the EFF.

'Never let a good crisis go to waste" is a remark attributed to Winston Churchill, the crusty wartime prime minister who cajoled and comforted the Brits during the Blitz and whose efforts were so crucial in defeating nazism. The triumph against Adolf Hitler's Third Reich in World War 2 was followed immediately by the formation of the UN as part of a new international architecture that, it was hoped, would prevent such a calamity happening again. The normal human reaction when disaster strikes is to cower. Proponents of the "good crisis" theory believe instead that it's a time to be bold, to act decisively and think out of the box. SA has a bucketful of crises vying for attention. And often it seems like our leaders are paralysed by the mere fact of thinking about them. The problems are too enormous. They don't know where to start. And so they tarry or push them aside, hoping they will go away. One must not underestimate the issues confronting Cyril Ramaphosa. He has the most difficu...

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