Many of South Africa’s troubles reflect a widening gap between state and society. On the one hand, the government is struggling to cope with multiplying social crises – gender-based violence, youth unemployment, gangsterism, taxi conflict, xenophobic attacks and land occupations. On the other, citizens are increasingly disillusioned and distrustful of government institutions and services as a result of poor management, corruption, patronage politics and nepotism.
The conventional solutions are sectoral and driven from the centre — new master plans, regulatory regimes, compliance frameworks and formula-driven social programmes – as if there is a legislative fix to social breakdown. President Cyril Ramaphosa advocates high-level social compacts between powerful sectional interests to negotiate compromises and concessions.
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