Civic Protests and Local Government in South Africa: The Civic Protests Barometer 2007 - 2016

The Dullah Omar Institute’s Applied Constitutional Studies Laboratory (ACSL) is pleased to announce the publication of the Civic Protests Barometer (CPB).

The 2016 CPB (Working Paper Series No. 2) measures trends in protest action in South Africa's municipalities in the period 2007 to July 2016 (inclusive), and is an update of the CPB published in 2014 (Working Paper Series No. 1), which covered the period 2007 to 2014. It reveals chiefly that, against a background of increasing protest action throughout the country, the number of civic (municipal service delivery) protests has decreased significantly. The CPB and its technical note are available via links below:

Download the barometer here | Download the technical note here

Key trends:

  • The number of protests directed specifically at local government has decreased drastically.
  • In 2009 South Africa experienced a total of 204 civic protests, whereas in 2015 they decreased to 126.
  • Extrapolations from the first six months of 2016 indicate that the number of civic protests will drop significantly this year.
  • Although civic protests are decreasing, many of them are covering wide areas and lasting a long time.
  • Contrary to popular belief, there is no apparent direct relationship between an impending election and the number of civic protests.
  • Gauteng is the most protest-prone province in South Africa
  • More than half of all protests took place in metropolitan municipalities.
  • More than 90% of civic protests are associated with violence and intimidation.