Riots in South Africa linked to public anger over poor government services and poverty have hit a record high in 2018, data showed on Wednesday, a sign one analyst said the ruling African National Congress (ANC) should not ignore ahead of elections next year.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to improve governance and kickstart an economy mired in recession, but high levels of public discontent reflect the challenge the ANC faces as it tries to reform Africa’s most industrialised economy.
Dubbed “service delivery protests,” the number of such incidents had hit 198 by the end of September, the data from research organisation Municipal IQ showed, surpassing the previous record for a full calendar year of 191 in 2014 when former President Jacob Zuma was in power.
The riots typically see protesters blocking roads with burning debris, hurling rocks or bricks and clashing with the police. Services they are demanding include housing, running water, paved roads and other amenities that many poor black people remain without more than two decades after the end of apartheid.
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