2019 service delivery protests

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2019 service delivery protests
Date3 April 2019 - May 2019
Urban areas of South Africa
Caused byLack of delivery of municipal services
Resulted in
  • 2 deaths[1]
  • 45 total arrests
37 arrests in the Western Cape[2]
8 arrested in Sotweto[3]
  • property damage

The 2019 service delivery protests refers to a series of protests and civil disturbances taking place across urban areas of South Africa related to poor service delivery that started in Alexandra on the 3 April 2019.[4][5]

After starting in Alexandra on the 3 April the protestors marched to the wealthy nearby neighbourhood of Sandton five days later to gain more attention.[6] On the 9 April the trade union SAFTU stated their support for the protests and called on other areas in Gauteng province to join.[7] By the 11 April 2019 the protests had spread to other major cities in the rest of the country.[8] Other than Alexandra protests occurred in Hammanskraal, Roodepoort, Vereeniging, Kroonstad, Blackheath,[9] Tshwane,[10] Bekkersdal, Orange Grove,[11] Nomzamo[12] Lingelethu East,[13] Bergville,[14] Bekkersdal,[15] Caledon,[16] Eersteriver, Rus-ter-Vaal,[2] Khayelitsha,[17] Riverlea,[18] and Soweto.[19]

The major political parties traded accusations over the cause of the riots.[6] The African National Congress (ANC) accused the Democratic Alliance (DA) of not effectively delivering services to the protesting communities[20] and the DA made a counter accusation that it was ANC governance in Johannesburg two years before was the root cause of poor service delivery in Alexandra.[21] The protests were openly supported by the trade union SAFTU who called on other areas to join the protests.[22] The DA[23] and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) accused the ANC of instigating and spreading the protests to discredit them in the run up to the 2019 South African general election.[24][25]

Notable South African academic, Steven Friedman, criticised media coverage of the protests for "denigrat[ing] poor people by offering a distorted picture of their lives" and supporting politically motivated narratives that the protests were incited by political parties instead of being driven by genuine grievances.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Two protesters killed during Soshanguve protest". News24. 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  2. ^ a b "LOOK: Service delivery protests snowball as politicians shift blame". www.iol.co.za. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  3. ^ "Pennyville protesters arrested". eNCA. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  4. ^ "#AlexTotalShutdown: 'We inherited a rot, a mess' - DA's Maimane". News24. 2019-04-03. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  5. ^ Nyathi, Ayanda. "Alex residents vow to continue with protest until Ramaphosa, Makhura come". ewn.co.za. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  6. ^ a b "Alex protest timeline: Anger, ignored pleas, and threats". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  7. ^ Naidoo, Sashin (2019-04-09). "SAFTU supports Alex protests, calls on other townships to join". SABC News. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  8. ^ "WATCH: Service delivery protests spread from Alexandra to the rest of SA". News24. 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  9. ^ LERATO DIALE, LESEGO MAKGATHO AND SIPHO MABASO (14 April 2019). "Collapse of local leadership major cause of violent protests - analysts | IOL News". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  10. ^ "Tshwane shutdown causes chaos in Pretoria". News24. 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  11. ^ Gerber, Jan (2019-04-12). "Protesters trying to attract politicians' attention - Municipal IQ". News24. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  12. ^ "Protesters won't back down as Somerset West unrest continues". News24. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  13. ^ "Somerset West: Shops looted, bar emptied overnight". News24. 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  14. ^ "Residents block main road in Bergville service delivery protest". ECR. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  15. ^ "Rubber bullets fired as Bekkersdal protests intensify". eNCA. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  16. ^ Brandt, Kevin. "Caledon protesters await municipality's response to demands". ewn.co.za. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  17. ^ "WATCH: Khayelitsha shutdown causes havoc on Cape Town roads | Cape Argus". www.iol.co.za. 11 April 2019. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  18. ^ News, Eyewitness (21 April 2019). "Violent protests break out in Riverlea". ewn.co.za. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  19. ^ "Service delivery protests spread to Soweto". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  20. ^ Simelane, Bheki C. "ALEXANDRA PROTESTS: Alex residents march to Sandton, determined to have their grievances heard". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  21. ^ Mitchley, Alex (2019-04-07). "Alex shutdown: DA, ANC in blame-game as protest set to spread to Sandton". News24. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  22. ^ Naidoo, Sashin (2019-04-09). "SAFTU supports Alex protests, calls on other townships to join". SABC News. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  23. ^ Tefu, Nyakallo. "DA to lay a criminal complaint against ANC for Alex protests". ewn.co.za. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  24. ^ Mahlakoana, Theto. "EFF: Alex service delivery protest an opportunistic move by ANC". ewn.co.za. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  25. ^ "'Service delivery protests are part of the ANC's plans to discredit the DA'". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  26. ^ Friedman, Steven (22 April 2019). "How portrayal of protest in South Africa denigrates poor people". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2019-04-22.