EWC is based on hopelessly – and perhaps willfully – misleading information:

Why then is the ANC persisting with EWC?
EWC was not simply an aberration that emerged out of the blue from the tumult of the ANC’s 54th National Conference.  It is the next logical step in the ANC’s National Democratic Revolution (NDR) and follows decades of discussion on the need to dispense with, or amend, section 25 of the constitution (the property clause).

The redistribution of land, property and wealth has been a central theme of ANC/SACP ideology since 1956 when the Freedom Charter declared that “all the land shall be redivided among those who work it.” The NDR calls unambiguously for the “deracialisation of ownership and control of wealth, including land”. Radical Economic Transformation (RET), the latest iteration of the NDR, is defined as “a fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans…”

RET is the official policy of the ANC and is mentioned in virtually every policy statement and speech. It is already being implemented through a raft of anti-property legislation and progressively more constricting affirmative action and BBBEE measures.

Despite this, it is routinely discounted by commentators, business and white South Africans.  Yet “a fundamental change in… patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy” would clearly require the dilution not only of white land ownership – but also of white ownership of companies, shareholding, management and employment in the private sector.

Where does President Ramaphosa stand in all of this? He is a shrewd and experienced businessman and must be aware of the enormous risks involved in EWC. He is also one of the main progenitors of the National Development Plan (NDP) which calls for “an environment in which business can invest, profit and contribute to national goals” and which warns against politics dominated by ethnicity and factionalism.  Also, it was probably he who ensured that the original Nasrec resolution was qualified by the requirements that EWC should not damage food security, agricultural job and investment in the economy.

Nevertheless, he has supported RET and EWC in statement after statement.  RET and EWC also accord with his reported revelation, in the late Mario Ambrosini’s autobiography, that his 25-year “frog in the pot” plan for whites “meant that the black majority would pass laws transferring wealth, land, and economic power from white to black slowly and incrementally, until the whites lost all they had gained in South Africa, but without taking too much from them at any given time to cause them to rebel or fight.”  Does he still hold such views?

According to its own documents the ANC realises that when the time comes for the racial redistribution of wealth, there will inevitably be a reaction “because property relations are at the core of all social systems.”  It believes that “the tensions that decisive application to this objective will generate will require dexterity in tact and firmness in principle.”

So, if the ANC proceeds with EWC it is likely to give the poisoned pill a dexterous sugar-coating. It will reassure concerned farmers and investors that its impact will not be too onerous.  Perhaps the state will assume custodianship of all land – but give present occupants leasehold rights; or perhaps government will expropriate only land that exceeds certain arbitrary limits (5 000 ha?) or that is deemed to be under-used?  Or, possibly, the ANC will conclude that it will be able to achieve its RET goals without amending the Constitution?

However, if EWC were to be adopted, even in diluted form, it would be a body blow to the already battered national accord on which the new South Africa was founded.  The property clause was one of the most tightly negotiated compromises in the final constitution. Non-ANC parties conceded the principle of expropriation in the national interest – which included land reform. In return, the ANC accepted that equitable compensation would be paid for expropriated property.  The property clause was at the heart of the constitutional agreement – and, as the ANC correctly observes, “property relations are at the core of all social systems”.

EWC would also further undermine South Africa’s status as a non-racial country.  It would be directed against citizens on the basis of their race; and together with RET would be intended to resolve what the ANC calls the “national grievance arising from colonialism and apartheid”.  All this would inevitably damage race relations.

What should the response of concerned South Africans be?