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‘S.A, protest capital of the world’

South Africa has earned its self a name as ‘‘protest capital of the world’’ with the number of people who are dissatisfied with the way things are being handled the number of protests is set to increase in the future.


Statistics show that during the 2004/05 financial year about 6,000 protests were officially recorded and about 1,000 of these protests were illegally banned. This meant that at least 15 protests were taking place each day in South Africa at this time. However the number of protests has escalated dramatically since then. Undoubtedly most of these protests are a result of poor service delivery.

There are many protests, one may look at the Sasolburg protest (municipal corruption), Delmas/Khotsong (service delivery) and most recently was the protests in Bekkasdal where the community prevented the ANC to enter the township to campaign. They felt the ANC government wasn’t doing anything; the strike went on for weeks.

 It got intense as learners were also prevented from going to school; matriculants had to be taken to the camp in order to write their final exams.

‘‘I feel like the government doesn’t care at all about us they only care during the elections and after that its everyman for himself they don’t return to check on the progress ’’ said Siphamandla Duba a young man from Ekurhuleni) .

Could it be that the government is failing its people? Research showed that there was a dramatic increase in protests shortly after President Jacob Zuma took to the office. It was ten times higher in 2009 than 2004 and escalated again in 2010.

 One may think that Gauteng has the highest rate when it comes to protests but it is actually the Western Cape, just under half of these protests occur in ‘shack informal settlements’,

 As many commentators and activists now accept that service delivery protests are part of a broader Rebellion of the Poor.

“This rebellion is massive. I have not yet found any other country where there is a similar level of ongoing urban unrest. South Africa can reasonably be described as the ‘protest capital of the world" said Professor Peter Alexander in his research.

Some feel like these violent protests are a waste of time whilst some bag-to-defer. In a recent survey conducted amongst young people from the township, it showed that 70% of the youth in the township are high school dropouts and are unemployed and only 30% manages to get to matric.

 As one may observe that young people dominate at these protests, ‘‘Personally I feel like when we protest and burn our own clinics, libraries and all these facilities that are of benefits to us ‘ekasi’ we are taking five steps forward and twenty steps backwards, we are the only ones to be affected by not having these facilities that we burn’’ said Samukelisiwe Nkosi a grade 12 pupil.    

Often when people are protesting it turns violent with facilities getting burned, roads closed down and people getting hurt, the South African Police Services reported that they made 14 000  arrests of protesters for the past four(4) years.

 ‘‘As the Police officers, we have nothing against people protesting as long as they do it in a peaceful and orderly manner, the minute its turns violent we have to intervene and make arrests because people forget that with rights comes responsibilies’’ said constable Hlatjwayo from Tsakane Police Station.

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