Residents of SA’s economic powerhouse rage on the streets
TMG Digital | 2017-05-16 17:46:45.0
Prominent protests recently over issues like access to state-sponsored housing and electricity have been in areas ranging from Florida to Ennerdale (pictured)‚ the Iterileng informal settlement in Laudium outside Pretoria. File photo
Image by: Alon Skuy
Almost two out of every five service delivery protests in 2017 have been in Gauteng‚ a massive jump on previous years – signalling to all spheres of government that developmental backlogs must take priority over politicking.
Fifty nine protests have been measured so far this year‚ to mid-May‚ of which 37% have been in Gauteng. The number of protests in Gauteng is an almost 50% increase in the proportion of protests in the province compared to previous years (2004-17)‚ according to Municipal IQ‚ a specialised local government data and intelligence organisation that collects data on service delivery protests staged against municipalities.
Other prominent protest sites this year include the Eastern Cape (17%) and North West (15%). Mpumalanga accounted for 10% of the protests.
There were 137 protests recorded during the whole of 2016.
“The past few weeks have been especially remarkable given that Gauteng has been so prominent‚ with protests spreading very rapidly between communities‚ most especially in the south of Johannesburg‚” Karen Heese‚ Economist at Municipal IQ‚ said in a statement on Tuesday.
While there is considerable speculation about whether protests in Johannesburg have been instigated by criminal elements‚ “and criminality has been pronounced in recent protests”‚ Municipal IQ said it supports the official position that service delivery grievances are valid.
“As such‚ it is critical that all government spheres continue to work in a concert to accelerate service delivery; not only in protesting communities‚ but with clear focus on all communities facing developmental backlogs.”
Prominent protests recently over issues like access to state-sponsored housing and electricity have been in areas ranging from Florida to Ennerdale‚ the Iterileng informal settlement in Laudium outside Pretoria.
Municipal IQ’s Hotspots Monitor databases major protests staged by community members who can be identified as living in a particular ward against a municipality‚ as recorded by the media or other public domain sources such as the SAPS. Protesters raise issues that are the responsibility or perceived responsibility of local government such as councillor accountability‚ the quality and pace of basic service delivery‚ and in metro areas‚ housing.
Not included are issues falling outside of local government’s service delivery mandate such as demarcation‚ industrial relation disputes or clear party political issues such as candidate lists.