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Politicians could be to blame for spike in protests - CSVR

‘Political needling’ is a critical issue that needs to be addressed, says Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.

FILE: Protesting Khayelitsha residents barricaded roads with burning tyres during protests on 11 April 2019. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) says it believes the recent spike in service delivery protests could have been fuelled by political party leaders.

Parts of the country have been hit by protests over the past week.

Protests began in Alexandra in Gauteng, with others now in the Western Cape and the Free State.

CSVR senior researcher Selby Xinwa said that politicians carry some of the blame for the protests.

“Some political parties will find mileage with regards to fuelling some of the protests,” he said, adding that “political needling” was another critical issue that needed to be addressed.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has also expressed concern over the recent protests.

“Hopefully, the government and political parties will respond in a positive manner that respects the (Electoral) Code of Conduct,” said IEC deputy CEO Mawethu Mosery.

Monitoring group Municipal IQ has also noted the spike in protests over the past three months ahead of the elections.

Municipal IQ economist Karen Heesen said, as anticipated, there would continue to be an increase in protests until the election in May.

She said that between 2004 and 2018, Gauteng tended to be the centre of service delivery protests, on average accounting for 24% of demonstrations.

However, last year was different, with the Eastern Cape far outstripping Gauteng, followed by the Western Cape.