Ramaphosa’s withdrawal, announced less than an hour before the show was due to start, comes just as South Africa starts its annual 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children campaign. Mkhari and his wife, Ipeleng, were arrested in 2018 after raising charges of assault against each other. Those were later withdrawn.
“The Presidency emphasizes that the non-participation of President Ramaphosa should not be read as an endorsement of the untested allegations raised by the civil society organizations but a carefully weighed up decision taken in the public interest,” his office said.
South Africa has one of the world’s highest levels of violence against women, with a woman murdered every three hours. Ramaphosa in September made a televised address to the nation after a young woman was raped and murdered in a Cape Town Post office.
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Mkhari, who would have conducted the interview, told the audience he was disappointed, but “we absolutely respect the decision of the presidency.”