To varying degrees – some more intense than others, several Southern African Development Community (SADC) States are presently engaged in socialreconstruction programs aimed at correcting the salient economic and social legacy of apartheid rule on their territories. To varying degrees, this has triggered a fierce binary opposition between the dispossessed land-hungry black majority and a privileged white-minority farming community that holds and controls lands with the most agricultural potential. The dispossessed land-hungry black majority question the legitimacy of

legal titles to lands that had been expropriated from them without compensation and reserved for white commercial farming under apartheid rule. The whiteminority farming community insists on the validity of its land titles at law. It insists also that the Courts should protect its titles from arbitrary alienation. Nowhere else is this remarkable challenge more apparent than in the former

apartheid-ruled States of the SADC that were also the last to achieve political freedom, namely, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The challenge is exacerbated by several complex factors. One is the deliberate intent of SADC governments to substitute equality for

inequality as the basic norm for all social-ordering practice in the aftermath of apartheid rule. Protagonists perceive a duty on the part of incumbent SADC governments to pursue this policy without fear or favour because it reflects the foremost reason why so many had fought and died in the struggle against apartheid rule. Consequently, there is a legitimate expectation on the majority’s part that the economic and social legacy of apartheid rule will be corrected without much ado. The other is the duty of current SADC governments to ensure that their

countries remain firmly set on a path of sustainable development in order to maximise on their economic potential in an increasingly globalising world economy. Moreover, SADC States have all signed up to the United Nations’ (UN) time-bound millennium development goals (MDGs) which require them to ensure certain universally agreed minimum standards of human existence for their populations. The realisation of those goals depends very much on stable and competitive economic circumstances. SADC States also share in the UN’s efforts to prevent desertification and to

promote human rights, and to fight discrimination and to promote equality

between men and women, particularly with regards the customary right to own, inherit and dispose of property. Another complicating factor is the duty of SADC governments to ensure the

rule of law on their territories, and the protection of individuals against potential excesses of the State itself. The question this raises for SADC governments presently engaged in social-reconstruction programs necessitated by the vagaries of previous white-minority-rule governments on their territories is this: By what paradigm(s) could the correction be successfully implemented to supplant the State’s basic norm and general culture of inequality under white-minority rule to equality under black-majority rule without alienating either the beneficiaries or the sufferers/bearers of apartheid rule because of their mutually opposed legitimate expectations? By what trick, miracle or method does one liberate both the oppressor and the oppressed from their burdens so that jointly, they arrive at a mutual originary moment of genesis, where they deliberately abandon former positions and choose to reconfigure land allocation/use for instance, in order to ensure equal and not unequal distribution of the advantages and disadvantages of their new reality? Yet another question is how to go about reversing the economic and social

legacy of apartheid rule without upsetting also the apparent economic advantages in comparison to other States. Food security, maintenance of international standards in food production, education, and general service provision all deserve protection if SADC governments are to succeed in making social reconstruction a tool for development rather than self-destruction. The biggest challenge probably arises from bullish attempts to rationalise and

justify the economic and social legacy of apartheid rule. The purpose is to either slow down social-reconstruction-oriented change that is intended by SADC governments’ deliberate substitution of equality for inequality under white-minority rule as the basic norm for social ordering under majority rule, or to deny it and kill it off. Often these arguments hang on claims of black unpreparedness to assume the responsibilities inherent in the taking over of large commercial farms for instance. They characterise blacks as lacking in skill, ambition and sense of purpose. But as Brennan J. stated in the seminal Mabo case No. 21 decision, such bigotry is repugnant to reason.