n Journal of Public Administration - The underlying factors behind violent municipal service delivery protests in South Africa

Volume 49, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Violence associated with service delivery protests has over the past few years skyrocketed resulting in the loss of lives and damage to property. Political violence is a historical phenomenon in apartheid South Africa. However, under the democratic dispensation violence service delivery protests persists and is estimated to have escalated from 41.66% in 2007 to 54.08% in 2010. While service delivery protests are not solely South African phenomena the level of violence that goes with it is peculiar and reminisce of violence associated with protests against the apartheid state in the mid to late 1980s. Accounted deaths associated with service delivery protests have escalated from 3 in 2004 to 11 in 2011. This paper analyses the escalation of service delivery protests and ascertains some of the underlying reasons for the mutual exchange of violent behaviour between protesting citizens and the state.

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