Johannesburg - South Africa had almost one protest every second day this year, specialised local government data and intelligence service company Municipal IQ said on Monday.
Gauteng and the Eastern Cape were the most protest-ridden provinces in 2013, it said.
“What is worrying about the Eastern Cape, is that protests did not only take place in urban areas stressed by in-migration, like those in Uitenhage (in November), but they spread to smaller towns like Cookhouse and Port St Johns and more remote areas like Matolweni,” said the company's economist Karen Heese.
There were fewer protests in the Western Cape, Free State, North West and Mpumalanga this year than in the past nine years.
Municipal IQ head Kevin Allan said urban areas like those in Gauteng and the Western Cape attracted “in-migrants” looking for better employment prospects and living conditions.
“Despite the often impressive efforts by municipalities in these provinces, the demand for basic services and housing is not fully met, giving rise to service delivery protests,” he said.
“This is a paradox we have seen for some time - protests often afflict well-run municipalities and provinces with high productivity scores.”
Allan said the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, which had the worst productivity ratings of all the provinces, experienced an increase in protests this year.
“This is concerning - it is not just deprivation relative to well-off neighbours in Gauteng and the Western Cape, but absolute deprivation in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal that is fuelling protests,” he said.
Municipal IQ said seven of the 10 best-performing local municipalities were in the Western Cape. The lowest performance scores were in Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.