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Does the DA plan to watch the country die?

Status quo is not static, it is dynamic. What is status quo, is not the absolute conditions in this moment, but the trajectory of change, innovation and reform. Do not ask what life is like today, but what life will be like if change keeps on moving in the same direction. So how do you recognise status quo? You look at what is generally agreed upon by all the prominent and powerful people in the country, what they object to, what their values are, and what they are willing to act on.

In South Africa, we know that welfare will never decrease, state control will never decrease, land reform will only become more radical, racial discrimination will only become more radical. We are heading for Zimbabwe, and every time we pause, the liberals declare victory. But there is no victory – we simply paused for breath on a death march.

It need not be stated how damaging the passage of legislation allowing expropriation without compensation will be. The intention of the ANC since Ramaphosa’s presidency has been to move the state incrementally towards this state with sufficient caution to not provoke a radical response from any powerful sector of the country or its economic stakeholders.

Their lethargy and corruption aside, the ANC has an ideology, and has a plan, a plan that has become all the more urgent since their electoral defeat at the local elections. They intend to dispossess all white people, and any black people who have stuff they want. The policies proposed by the Party change two things: they remove the ability to appeal to the courts for justice, and they remove the requirement to compensate the dispossessed.

And this process is not unprecedented. As Zimbabwe neared its final collapse, we were told how strong all the institutions were, how independent the courts were, how sound the constitution was. None of that mattered, and when ZANU-PF ran out of money, and lost electoral support, they just rigged the election, and took the land. While the comparison to Zimbabwe sounds hackneyed, it is not inaccurate.

The President’s advisors include Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, who proclaims that the genocidal creed of Makhanda is the best guide to land reform, and the snakelike Ruth Hall, who advised Mugabe on his land reform project 20 years ago, and wishes to see the same happen to South Africa, step for step. No legal process will inhibit the transformation to universal misery, as courts will be replaced with a “land czar”.

The news media has leant on pet communist academics like the smug and amoral Elmien du Plessis, who sees no problem with Zimbabwefication, and tells us that the state is not empowering themselves to arbitrarily confiscate property in order to arbitrarily confiscate property, but to help smooth out some marginal wrinkles in title deed transfers.

While many defenders will gesture to Korea or Japan, in these societies, land was taken from absentee landlords and given to tenant farmers. This is not what the ANC plans – they intend to seize land from farmers and residents to give to the state or to parcel out to friends and family. The ANC have been confident that now that they have complete control of the institutions, no element of liberal society can stand in their way.

And so far, they have been right – nobody has threatened to do anything meaningful or credible at all. Some electoral posturing, but beyond that, zip.

On Tuesday we were treated to another stay of execution. The amendment to the constitution, which intended to empower government agents to expropriate property effectively without cause, was defeated, after the EFF objected to its “moderate” tone. They accused the bill of selling out the black people of South Africa, who deserve to see all property instantly expropriated in toto, and distributed like Habyarimana did with Tutsi property in Rwanda in 1960.

John Steenhuisen greeted this, paradoxically, as a success, claiming that we can now put all this behind us and “get down to business”. He is foolish in the extreme. We’ll be marching to the cliff again shortly.

The DA have no parliamentary representation that matters. The only important decisionmakers are the Charterist parties (ANC/EFF). ANC MPs even declared that despite our irrelevance, it is “unfortunate” that we are even allowed to vote. The DA are impotent at a national level.

The only card the DA holds to negotiate against expropriation, is that they control the Cape. What is coming for us is not politics as usual, but the decimation and destruction of the country *forever*. But they are unwilling to use any means that might entail risk to their reputations, or require courage.

Controlling the Cape means the DA has territory it can control if it chooses to – to call a tax revolt, to seize from the control of our hopeless police and military, who protect the gangsters who murder thousands of innocent people every year on the Flats.

Am I calling for a coup? No. What I am calling for, is for the DA to demand that EWC be taken off the table unconditionally and forever, and to back that demand up with a decisive will to act with all the power they have, legal or not. If the law declares war on the people, the people must declare war on the law.

The time for ordinary politics is when we live under a state that respects all under its sovereignty as free, and as fully human. The ANC does neither, and never has, only restraining itself due to the balance of forces in the economy. We are no longer operating under ordinary circumstances. We require extraordinary politics.

We require an opposition that can threaten the ANC where it hurts. One that is willing to play as if the stakes matter. Because they do.

Robert Duigan

Robert Duigan

Robert Duigan is a political consultant and freelance writer.

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