Is South Africa's 20 years of democracy in crisis? Examining the impact of unrest incidents in local protests in the post-apartheid South Africa
Centre for Military Studies (CEMIS), Stellenbosch University, South Africa
This article assesses South Africa's 20 years of democracy, which has frequently been bedevilled by local protests. This article is particularly interested in those unrest incidents that have been distinct for one reason or another. In South Africa, the surge in local unrest incidents is often linked to police behaviour, which has become increasingly militant and brutal when quelling protests. While the right to protest is constitutional, the damage caused during protest action can be immense owing to acts of violence. Protestors' resorting to violent protest action is often linked to increased frustrations as a result of the government's inability to live up to the expectations of marginalised and poor communities. While this article draws primarily on existing scholarly debates focusing on social protests, the primary objective is to examine the impact of unrest incidents on local protests in post-apartheid South Africa. The article further argues that ‘spaces’ for participation in local governance should be created so that citizens can become architects of development and their own future. © 2015 Institute for Security Studies.