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S. Africa witnesses sharp rise in social protests, report says
 (2015-05-29)

JOHANNESBURG, May 27 (Xinhua) -- There has been a 96 percent increase in social protests in South Africa since 2010, a report by a Britain-based think tank has shown.

During 2013/2014, South Africa witnessed 11,668 peaceful crowd- related incidents, 1,907 unrest-related incidents, and 1,691 incidents of public violence, says the report by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), citing figures from the South African Police Service.

These incidents included major service delivery protests, industrial action, demarcation issues, and conflict between political parties, it says.

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has made progress in improving lives of the poor, however a number of people still live in shacks without power, some share a single tap with dozens of households.

Protests over poor service delivery have almost become a daily occurrence, according to the report.

"The trend for major service delivery protests shows that there is a greater rate of occurrence in areas with high levels of fruitless and wasteful government expenditure," Gabriela Mackay, an IRR research analyst, says in the report.

Municipal data shows that, of the 176 major service delivery protests in 2014, 21 percent of them occurred in Gauteng province and 18 percent each in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

These provinces, particularly the Eastern Cape and Gauteng, had "high levels of fruitless and wasteful expenditure", with avoidable costs of 768 million rand (about 64 million U.S. dollars) and 508 million rand (some 43 million U.S. dollars) respectively, the reports says.

"However, it should be noted that multiple factors play a role in service delivery protests as the Western Cape has the lowest level of fruitless and wasteful expenditure (one million rand or 840,000 dollars), but 14 percent of major service delivery protests occurred in the province," says Mackay.

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