South Africa: President Ramaphosa, Gender-Based Violence and Xenophobia - Engage the Transformation Sector

Demonstrators protesting violence against women and demanding to see President Cyril Ramaphosa clash with police outside the Cape Town Convention Centre where the World Economic Forum on Africa summit is being held.

It is not a coincidence that violence broke out this week against women and perceived foreigners simultaneously. It's Scapegoating 101 as the economy tanks.

"If [Cyril Ramaphosa] does not disclose who donated to him simply because he believes the law does not require him to do so," wrote Ralph Mathekga on CR17's election campaign funding, "he will have to live with the speculation that he might in the future be beholden to powerful special interests" or, in Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's words, "captured in advance".

Interest groups closest to Ramaphosa could crowd out citizens' call for decisive leadership through South Africa's two acute crises: xenophobic violence in CBDs and the horrendous spike in reports of violence against women and children. The matched timing of these emergencies isn't coincidence.

Ramaphosa's own transition from unionist to mining boss wasn't without violence -- remember Marikana -- but he's conformed to the letter of the law. This makes him attractive to rent-seekers who are experts at dog-whistling that pro-transformation, pro-regulation, pro-society voices are incompetent and corrupt; conversely, they're brilliant at casting politicians who give them free rein as the best thing since Jesus Christ.

Without letting rapists and xenophobes off the hook, let's understand...

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