11 December 2017

South Africa: How Sexual Violence and Corruption Have Converged Within Our Politics


The sordid actions of sleazy individuals in politics and government are important illustrations of the need for legal reform when it comes to sexual abuse and harassment in South Africa. By LISA VETTEN.

The #GuptaLeaks taught us a great deal about how systems of patronage, kickbacks and tender rigging can be used to steal a state. But this is not their only educational value. Buried within this trove of information is a set of e-mails hinting at yet another dimension of corruption, one where sexual favours are extracted through blackmail, fear and threats, and gifts and cash payouts made to settle and conceal these demands.

This particular form of corruption and its presence in our politics has attracted far too little attention. #NotOurLeaders sought to challenge this by using the 16 Days of Activism to focus on violence towards women and girls by political representatives, as well as the ways in which it is enabled by our political structures.

Our chief focus was the 11 cases of rape, sexual harassment and assault either reported or finalised in 2017. Another nine cases (largely reported on between 2013 and 2016) were also included, largely for purposes of comparison. Given its status as...

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