Service delivery protests have continued unabated in 2018 with 42 in the first quarter of this year.
Just more than one in five service delivery protests (21%) happened in Gauteng followed by 19% in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal (14%).
This is according to a report on the first quarter of this year by Municipal IQ that collects data on service delivery protests against municipalities.
Municipal IQ tracks service delivery protests via media reports or other public domain resources such as media releases the police send out. They only count protests where community members and the wards they live in can be identified.
Protests that continue over several days are recorded as one protest. These protests can be violent or peaceful‚ but must be about issues which are the responsibility or perceived responsibility of municipalities. This excludes issues such as demarcation or party political issues such as candidate lists.
Municipal IQ economist Karen Heese said 2018 has been “busy‚ if not unprecedented” which has been “spurred on by an eventful March”.
“Perhaps most significant‚ although not a direct service delivery protest‚ was a wave of land invasions in metros which will likely become a major policing priority and increase the jostle and demands of protesters to be heard over each other‚” Heese said.
“While protests have not receded in the wake of the leadership transition within the ANC‚ they have also not shown any evidence of a falling-out between factions which fuelled protests in the past.”
Municipal IQ managing director Kevin Allan believes service delivery protests will remain “popular and [a] common avenue for airing grievances” this year.
There were 173 service delivery protests against municipalities in 2017 and 137 in 2016.