48 major service delivery protests since January

2014-04-03 11:54

There have been 48 major service delivery protests against local government since January 1, with protests occurring roughly every second day, Municipal IQ said in its Hotspots Monitor report today.

Gauteng and the Eastern Cape were the most protest-ridden provinces this year, with the Eastern Cape just slightly ahead at the end of March.

Municipal IQ is a web-based data and intelligence service specialising in the monitoring and assessment of South Africa’s 283 municipalities.

Managing director Kevin Allan said: “At the current annual rate, protests in 2014 may set a new record, but an apparent slowdown in March means that this is not a forgone conclusion.”

Municipal IQ economist Karen Heese said that protest activity fell immediately before and during elections in 2009 and 2011.

“It is important that constructive engagement continues during election campaigns,” she said.

Municipal IQ’s Hotspots Monitor report collated major protests staged against a municipality, as recorded by the media or other public domain sources.

Unlike the SA Police Service crowd-incident data, the report monitored protests pertaining only to local government service delivery issues.

There was a spate of violent and destructive protests, mostly associated with service delivery grievances in Gauteng and North West in February.

Areas in Gauteng such as Khutsong, Bekkersdal, Roodepoort and Bronkhorstspruit were heavily affected.

Protesters in the Bronkhorstpruit area, east of Pretoria, set alight several buildings, including a clinic.

The week before, protesters torched the Zithobeni satellite police station and municipal offices. Residents were protesting about the high price of electricity.

Around the same time, violent protests broke out in Sebokeng relating to a housing development in the area.

In the North West, protesters dissatisfied with the municipality took to the streets in Brits. In Majakaneng, violence erupted in February as residents torched three vehicles and a councillor’s house.

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