Protest action on the rise in Mzansi?

By Drum Digital
17 September 2014

This week there has been civil unrest among residents of Grabouw, a farming town in the Western Cape.

By: Ayanda Sitole

According to the latest reports by Municipal IQ, a municipal data and intelligence resource, there have been over 134 major service delivery protests staged against local government between 1 January 2014 and 17 August 2014

This would suggest that protests are occurring roughly at a rate of slightly more than “a protest every second day,” the report concludes.

Karen Heese, Municipal IQ’s Economist says many of the winter protests were in demand for electricity, while in summer, there is more likely to be an accelerated demand for water.

“Neither of these concerns are likely to be quickly resolved, notwithstanding gradual gains suggested in Stats SA Non-financial Census. This means there is likely to be a continuation in the high rate of protests witnessed so far this year.”

Kevin Allan, MD of Municipal IQ argued: “It remains of grave concern that so many protests – almost 4 out of 5 – is violent and can be deeply compromising to communities. An example is the halt to schooling in areas surrounding the Northern Cape town of Kuruman.” Statistics show that the highest number of service delivery protests is taking place in Gauteng at 24%, second highest in Cape Town at 13% and lowest number of protest taking place in Free State at 1% This week there has been civil unrest among residents of Grabouw, a farming town in the Western Cape On Monday angry residents marched to the Theewaterskloof Municipality to air their grievances regarding service delivery to the local mayor.

According the eNCA, on Tuesday, residents closed down a section of the N2 as 100 protesters moved across the highway moving closer to the police cordon.

Residents set tyres on fire and threw stones at the police and looted local shops nearby, police retaliated with rubber bullets. It was reported that 11 protesters were arrested.

Violence continued today when a crowd of approximately 1000 residents burnt down the local fire station saying that they wanted to delay fire rescue when they set fire to other properties in the neighbourhood.

Thus far, no one has been arrested and there have been no injuries reported.

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