Ex-ANC leaders behind many protests over service delivery

2015-01-28 12:56

There were 176 “major” protests over service delivery across South Africa in 2014, new research by an academic at the University of the Free State has revealed.

Dr Sethulego Matebesi, researcher and senior lecturer at the UFS, found that many of these protests were organised by individuals who previously held “key positions” within the ANC, and remain prominent community leaders.

Matebesi, explaining his research in a statement issued by the UFS, said the causes of these 176 protests were divided into three broad categories:

1. Systemic (maladministration, fraud, nepotism and corruption);

2. Structural (healthcare, poverty, unemployment and land issues); and,

3. Governance (limited opportunities for civic participation, lack of accountability, weak leadership and the erosion of public confidence in leadership).

Matebesi homed in on protests in the Free State, Northern Cape and the North West, studying how patterns in these provinces had shifted since 2008.

“On the one side you have highly fragmented residents’ groups that often use intimidation and violence in predominantly black communities,” Matebesi said.

“On the other side, there are highly structured ratepayers’ associations that primarily use the withholding of municipal rates and taxes in predominantly white communities.”

In these cases, Matebesi found that professionals like attorneys, accountants “and even former municipal managers” were leading the charge against poor service and related gripes.

Generally, though, he found what newspaper photographs often illustrate: Protests are supported by predominantly unemployed, young residents.

“However, judging by election results immediately after protests, the study revealed that the ANC is not losing votes over such actions.”

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