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With trust declining in three of SA’s four mainstream institutions — the government, the media and business — it is obvious that above-average levels of fear about corruption, immigration and the erosion of social values is affecting the way South Africans perceive their country. Globally, the South African government is least trusted by its people, with only 15% of citizens affirming their trust in the government, according to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer. This lack of faith in the system, combined with deep societal fears, explains the rise of populist movements such as #FeesMustFall, service delivery protests and candidates such as EFF leader Julius Malema and US President Donald Trump. Malema and Trump, as well as other populist leaders in France, Italy and Mexico, have proven that appealing to the common man and issues that affect him outweigh political leadership attributes when it comes to getting elected. Despite its small size, the EFF has been a vocal opposition party ...

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