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48 major protests since January

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IOL pic nov4 bekkersdal protest file

Independent Newspapers

Bekkersdal has been the site of protests over service delivery and other issues since last year, resulting in damage amounting to around R11.2 million. File photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - There have been 48 major service delivery protests against local government since January 1, Municipal IQ said on Thursday.

Protests were occurring roughly every second day, it said in its Municipal Hotspots Monitor report.

Gauteng and the Eastern Cape were the most protest-ridden provinces this year, with the Eastern Cape just slightly ahead at of the end of March.

Municipal IQ is a web-based data and intelligence service specialising in monitoring and assessment of South Africa's 283 municipalities.

Managing director Kevin Allan said: “At the current annual rate, protests in 2014 may set a new record, but an apparent slow-down in March means that this is not a foregone conclusion.”

Municipal IQ economist Karen Heese said in 2009 and 2011 protest activity fell immediately before and during elections.

“It is important that constructive engagement continues during election campaigns,” she said.

Municipal IQ's hotspots monitor collated major protests staged against a municipality as recorded by the media or other public domain sources.

It said, unlike the SA Police Service crowd-incident data, it monitored protests pertaining only to local government service delivery issues.

There were a spate of violent and destructive protests, mostly associated with service delivery grievances in Gauteng and North West in February.

Areas such as Khutsong, Bekkersdal, Roodepoort and Bronkhorstspruit in Gauteng were heavily affected.

Protesters in the Bronkhorstpruit area, east of Pretoria, set alight several buildings, including a clinic.

The week before, protesters torched the Zithobeni satellite police station and municipal offices. Residents were protesting about the high price of electricity.

Around the same time violent protests broke out in Sebokeng because of housing development in the area.

In the North West, protests over dissatisfaction with the municipality erupted in Brits. In Majakaneng, violence spilled over in February as residents torched three vehicles and a councillor's house. - Sapa


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