Minister of Police Nathi Mthetwa informed Parliament of the number of "crowd management incidents" that occurred during the three years from April 1 2009. In 2010-2011 there was a record number of crowd-management incidents (unrest and peaceful) and the final data for 2011-2012 are likely to show an even higher figure. Already, the number of gatherings involving unrest was higher in 2011-2012 than any previous year. During the past three years, 2009 to 2012, there has been an average of 2.9 unrest incidents a day. This is an increase of 40% over the average of 2.1 unrest incidents a day recorded for 2004-2009. The statistics show that what has been called the "rebellion of the poor" has intensified over the past three years.
The Incident Regulation Information System classifies incidents either as crowd management (peaceful), during which the incident is managed in cooperation with the convenor and the police only monitor the gathering, or as crowd management (unrest), during which the police need to intervene to make arrests or need to use force when there is a risk to safety or possible damage to property. During 2007-2008 to 2009-2010, "the most common reason for conducting crowd management (peaceful) gatherings was labour-related demands for increases in salary or wages". For the same period, the most common reason for "crowd management (unrest) was related to service delivery issues".
The number of arrests that had occurred with crowd management (unrest) gatherings were given as 4 883 (2009-2010), 4 680 (2010-2011), 2967 (April 1 2011 to March 5 2012). These figures give the average number of arrests per unrest gathering as, respectively, 4.8 (2009-2010), 4.8 (2010-2011) and 2.7 (2011-2012).
Gauteng had the largest number of peaceful incidents and the largest number of unrest incidents, but it also has the largest population, so it is not surprising.
Government attempts to improve service delivery have not been sufficient to assuage the frustration and anger of poor people in South Africa. From press reports and our own research, it is clear that although service-delivery demands provide the principal focus for unrest incidents, many other issues are being raised, notably a lack of jobs. Service-delivery protests are part of a broader "rebellion of the poor". This rebellion is massive. South Africa can reasonably be described as the "protest capital of the world". It also has the highest levels of inequality and unemployment of any major country and it is not unreasonable to assume that the rebellion is, to a large degree, a consequence of these phenomena. There is no basis for assuming that the rebellion will subside. http://mg.co.za/article/2012-04-13-a-massive-rebellion-of-the-poor
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