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Protest action mustn't be reduced to just service delivery issues, says academic

UWC student Mzulungile Gaqa said the basis of his research was to prove that protest action happening in many informal settlements cannot be reduced to service delivery.

FILE: Alexandra community members blocked Grayston Drive in Sandton on 8 April 2019 as they made their way to the Gauteng local municipal offices to meet with Mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

CAPE TOWN - As South Africa move closer to election day on 8 May, the country has seen a spike in violent protests in recent weeks.

University of the Western Cape Anthropology student Mzulungile Gaqa has gained a master’s degree in studying protest culture.

Gaqa, from the village of Tsomo in the Eastern Cape, said that the basis of his research was to prove that protest action happening in many informal settlements cannot be reduced to service delivery.

“My argument is that to coin them as service delivery is reducing them. I do believe that these protests are informed by more complex issues either than water, electricity, etc. I think that they are informed, mostly, by how people are entrapped in those settlements.”

He said that he leans towards viewing these protests as issues of justice, dignity and lived experiences.

Listen to the audio below for more.

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