Picture: Moeletsi Mabe
Picture: Moeletsi Mabe

Service delivery protests are increasing, and 94% of them recorded this year were violent, research organisation Municipal IQ said on Monday.

"April was a particularly protest-prone month in North West, Northern Cape and Free State municipalities; often affecting roads and basic services," Municipal IQ economist Karen Heese said.

"Of great concern is that 94% of the service delivery protests we have recorded this year have been violent — a significant uptick when compared with 76% since 2004."

According to Municipal IQ’s Hotspots Monitor, the Eastern Cape overtook Gauteng as this year’s most protest-prone province.

The North West was close behind Gauteng in third place, Heese said.

‘Of great concern is that 94% of the service delivery protests we have recorded this year have been violent — a significant uptick when compared with 76% since 2004’

Violent protests have recently flared up in the North West regarding the province’s health department.

Late last month, the Cabinet invoked Section 100(1b) of the Constitution to take over the health department in the province.

Protesters were reportedly blocking access to hospitals and threatened to burn doctors who tried to access the institutions to treat patients.

Municipal IQ also found that protests had increased in the Free State and the Northern Cape as well.

The Hotspots Monitor keeps a database of major protests staged against a municipality, as recorded by the media and other public sources such as South African Police Service (SAPS) press releases.

Municipal IQ’s MD, Kevin Allan, said it was concerning that protesters appeared to be resorting to increasingly violent measures to engage leadership structures.

However, there were also opportunistic elements of criminality that appeared to have come into play and which confounded the service delivery grievances, he said.

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