Protests are spiralling, study finds

2012-06-17 16:45
Service delivery protest (File, Beeld)u

Service delivery protest (File, Beeld)u

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Johannesburg - Municipal IQ, a local government data and intelligence service institution, has warned that 2012 could be remembered as the year of service delivery protests if South Africans continue to take to the streets at their current rate.

In fact, the country is set to record the highest number of delivery-linked protests by citizens since 1994.

The national department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs has conceded that “petty political squabbles” at branch level contribute enormously to sparking protests.

Municipal IQ found that the Western Cape is the country’s protest hotspot this year: it accounts for 25% of recorded protests so far.

National police spokesperson Colonel Vishnu Naidoo said 372 protests related to service delivery had been recorded between January and the end of May this year.

Naidoo said that most complaints raised during these protests were related to water, electricity, roads and a lack of speed humps.

Upward trend

Several protests are not included in the police and Municipal IQ’s latest statistics, including a spate in North-West and Mpumalanga at the beginning of June and one in the Zandspruit informal settlement to the north of Johannesburg last week.

Municipal IQ’s managing director, Kevin Allan said: “It is a reasonable conclusion to draw that service delivery protests could escalate this year, as data shows an upward trend. However, it is difficult to say with certainty why they’re increasing.”

“Most of the protests have taken place in the Western Cape because of the political tensions [there],” he said.

“We’ve also seen ANC factional tensions being quoted in Mpumalanga and the Free State as reasons that offset protests.

Until all the underlying issues of political tensions, poverty and backlogs are resolved, there will be conditions to spark service delivery protests.”

Complex

Nghamula Nkuna, the spokesperson for the department of corporative governance and traditional affairs, said: “It is a complex matter because as one goes deeper there are various reasons that trigger protests in the different communities.

“And, honestly, there are a lot of petty political issues in branches that cause the mobilisation of people in the name of service delivery,” Nkuna said.

Read more on:    municipal iq  |  service delivery  |  protests
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