Robyn Foley


Field of research

  • Governance
  • Political Economy of Development
  • State Capture, Neopatrimonialism and Corruption


In terms of my previous occupation, I have 8 years of experience in holistic project management of large scale infrastructure strategic planning and associated business analysis. Sectors in which I have experience include (amongst others): agriculture, aviation, maritime, commercial development and public sector strategic planning.

Upon reflection, the rich complexities of the projects undertaken fuelled a desire to further my understanding of the world and I decided to return to university. At the beginning of 2016 I enrolled as a full time student at Stellenbosch University, where I have since completed a Masters of Philosophy in Sustainable Development (Cum Laude). Other qualifications attained include BSc Physics and BSc (Hons) in Management of Technology.

In 2017 I was humbled by the opportunity to join a collective of distinguished academics from around the country, in undertaking research into state capture for the State Capacity Research Project (SCRP). In May 2017 the group released the Betrayal of the Promise: How South Africa is Being Stolen and in July 2018 we released a follow-up report, of which I am co-author, titled How one word can change the game: Case Study of State Capture and the South African Social Security Agency. This research forms the basis of my thesis, for attaining my MPhil.

Currently I am undertaking research on several new case studies of State Capture in South Africa.