SA has a protest every two days

2013-01-21 11:21

Johannesburg - South Africa’s wave of service delivery protests is far greater than previously imagined, with official police data revealing more than 3 000 protests in the past four years.

Media24 Investigations used access to information law to ask the South African Police Service for official records showing service delivery protests across the country since January 2009.

According to the data, there is a service delivery protest in South Africa - either violent or peaceful - at least once every two days.

Major protests

The true scale of the protests is far greater than other estimates.

Monitoring agency Municipal IQ recorded 410 “major service delivery protests” from 2009 to 2012.

The organisation records sustained protests over multiple days as a single occurrence.

The University of the Western Cape’s Service Delivery Protest Barometer - which uses a slightly broader definition, but like Municipal IQ sources its data from media reports and other public records - arrived at about 720 protests from the beginning of 2009 to the end of August 2012.

Karen Heese of Municipal IQ says the large variance between their numbers and those of the police can be attributed to how the protests are counted - her organisation focuses solely on protests against the municipalities, while protests reflected in the police data could also be those against other government bodies such as provincial governments.

“My understanding of the SAPS data is that it is per incident, so while we recorded, say, Olifantshoek as a single protest, there could well be hundreds of SAPS incidents reported, even perhaps on the same day,” she said.

The police records - which show protests specifically classified as service delivery-related - show that there were 3 258 service delivery protests in the country between January 2009 and November last year, when the request for information was filed.

Comprehensive count

The records show service delivery protests by residential areas and policing districts across South Africa. This is the first time such a comprehensive count of service delivery protests has been made public.

Mmabatho in the North West had the highest number of service delivery protests, one every 4.7 days over nearly four years. Of those, 190 were peaceful and 111 were accompanied by unrest.

Johannesburg had the second-highest number of protests (293), with Lenasia and Soweto with 26 protests and 39 respectively over the past four years. The Pretoria district was third with 235.

Mbombela (Nelspruit) district had one of the most violent service delivery protests, with 106 violent protests and 61 peaceful protests. The Northern Cape recorded 74 violent and 65 peaceful protests.

- Media24 Investigations


  • rob.bayliss.94 - 2013-01-21 12:35

    With so many people angry and disappointed at the government and municipal services I cannot make sense of the fact that the anc gets the majority vote. It would be really interesting to canvas people who have taken part in these protest to analyze where their political support sits. Just maybe the anc vote does not reflect the position of ordinary people, maybe the vote is a fiction....whatever it is something is defintely screwed up.

      angelanair3 - 2013-01-21 13:00

      And I dont believe there is a strike every SECOND day - there is a strike EVERY DAY! There has to be a "strike watch" so people can judge for themselves - we need the truth on these strikes! Are they real strikes - or orchestrated by a "rent a mob" third force. Government needs to reassess the situation regarding strikes. The strikers seem to be getting away with too many riots, looting and burning - there is no sympathy for the people on the receiving end ie farmers, mines or businesses bearing the brunt of these losses!

      mark.singh.9889 - 2013-01-21 13:47

      The scary thing about this atricle is the maths calculations, according to these stats, there is 2 strikes everyday not 1 strike every 2 days as they have miscalculated. 4 years is 1460 days, so 3000 protest over 1460 days is equal to slighly more than 2 strikes per day

      mo.haarhoff - 2013-01-21 14:01

      Of course, after the suggestions that the latest ANC slate votes were not completely free and fair, it's quite possible we could find that our major elections are not either. I think it's really worth our while investigating further.

  • goyougoodthing - 2013-01-21 12:44

    Keep voting them in, keep protesting.

      Eterni80 - 2013-01-21 13:15

      protest by not voting for them rather

  • richard.payn.12 - 2013-01-21 12:44

    Then why do the idiots keep voting for the ANC morons?

  • kyle.r.lottering - 2013-01-21 12:46

    there were protests during apartheid too. But this time its not about race. Yet the ANC still make it about race. Eish.

  • Pete7930 - 2013-01-21 12:54

    I would comment further but i have a protest to attend..

      MagdaKus - 2013-01-21 13:28

      Yup- I also feel like I have been missing out ;-)

  • vince.hobs - 2013-01-21 12:57

    Hands of our toyitoyi,it is our culture and it keeps us busy.We also get a chance to destroy a few properties and loot.

      MagdaKus - 2013-01-21 13:30

      For those of us who cannot afford to do it in virtual reality ;-)

      yolanda.r.haripersad - 2013-01-21 13:39

      and they will still vote ANC, it is a wonder how this country survives?

  • laughton.martin - 2013-01-21 12:57

    3000 in 4yrs dnt add up to protest every 2nd day but be that as it may,why do majority still vote for ANC that clearly aren't up to delivering anything.

      heinrich.etsebeth - 2013-01-21 13:57

      Agreed... it is more like one every half a day ;)

  • kosie.nel.14 - 2013-01-21 13:05

    Their only other quality, to breed!

  • amelia.basson - 2013-01-21 13:06

    They're not protesters, they're unemployed criminals & looters!

  • Eterni80 - 2013-01-21 13:15

    this is because SA has cANCer..

      Werewabbit - 2013-01-21 13:28

      This above comment qualifies as the least imaginative and probably most common comment on News 24. It speaks volumes of your deductive reasoning and ability to positively contribute to a given conversation. You are clearly a product of the cancer for which you speak.

  • jerome.fortuin.71 - 2013-01-21 13:22

    i wonder how many protests were there over a period of 5 years in the apartheid era?

      Graham Jehoma - 2013-01-21 13:39

      easy the answer is none.......Verwoerd se manne het nie gespeel nie

      rob.bancroft.94 - 2013-01-21 14:28

      Hey warren, you talk about the previous comment being dumb. This one takes first prize.

  • gary.dalton.75286 - 2013-01-21 13:24

    "SA has a protest every two days" Oeps, sorry about this. We"ll try and do better next time. Our target will be, one everyday.Regards .The Unions

  • Genesistt - 2013-01-21 13:29

    And yet they keep on voting ANC, even though the ANC never keep their promises. I'm sorry, but they made their bed. They voted the ANC back in even though they never received the services they were promised. Now they have to deal with the fallout.

  • arthur.salvado - 2013-01-21 13:32

    It's quite easy to understand how the ANC stays in power. Keep them stupid (30% pass mark and lower standards) feed them a boerewors roll and get a vote. Voila, ANC stays in power. It's the African (as in continent) way. Viva

  • ttrevenen - 2013-01-21 13:39

    INCREDIBLE! These results and yet the government think they are doing an amazing job?

  • suleiman.henry - 2013-01-21 14:11

    Seems like the ANC has not been succeeding in its plan to make the W Cape ungovernable by staging service delivery protests. Strange thing is that with all that unhappiness people in those areas continue to vote for the ruling party.

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