Parliament - Premeditated violence during protests was worrying, President Jacob Zuma said during his State of the Nation Address on Thursday.

“The right to protest, peacefully and unarmed, is enshrined in the Constitution. However, when protests threaten lives and property and destroy valuable infrastructure intended to serve the community, they undermine the very democracy that upholds the right to protest.”

Zuma acknowledged there had been a number of violent protests around the country in the past few weeks. These were due to the government's “alleged failures”, he said.

“However the protests are not simply the result of 'failures' of government, but also of the success in delivering basic services.

“When 95 percent of households have access to water, the five percent who still need to be provided for feel they cannot wait a moment longer,” he said.

Zuma said success was the breeding ground of rising expectations.

Sapa