120529. Cape Town. Residents from Zweletemba informal settlement near Worcester protest infront of the Worcester Civic centre demanding better basic living conditions. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus.


The Western Cape was the most protest-afflicted province in 2012, an independent local government and data intelligence organisation said on Tuesday.

“The Free State takes second place while the North West and Eastern Cape follow narrowly in a joint third position,” said Municipal IQ economist Karen Heese. Protest activity in Gauteng had dropped.

“A policing solution to contain violence and destruction of property is certainly relevant, but it is important for local government, especially councillors, to acknowledge protests without justifying violence,” she said.

Councillors had to be seen to be acting on the valid grievances of protesters.

Heese said the highest number of monthly protests ever recorded on its Hotspots Monitor was registered in May.

“Protests in May were as diverse as they were common. From demands for housing in Cape Town to a cluster of North West protests for tarred roads, the worrying theme was that they were violent and demonstrated high levels of frustration.”

Protest action appeared to be the increasingly accepted way for communities to air grievances, she said.

“These assessments will highlight both successes and failures in the work of municipalities and in so doing, assist to improve local government delivery.” - Sapa