South Africa: Winter of Discontent - #Shutdown Protests Over Poor Service Delivery Will Define 2021 Local Elections


In the run-up to the 2021 local government elections, poor service delivery - a major problem across South Africa that continues to get worse - is set to be the defining issue. We have seen a surge in #shutdown campaigns due to poor service delivery, while load shedding adds fuel to the fire.

The road to the local government elections, scheduled for 27 October 2021, is set to be bumpy, given the gargantuan challenges facing different local communities. It is going to be a long winter, judging by the number of protests around the country since the beginning of May.

We have seen a surge in #shutdown campaigns in different communities due to poor service delivery. The issues raised by residents include the growing number of potholes, lack of electricity, unavailability of potable water, refuse not collected, sometimes for months, and allegations that jobs in local government are given to people aligned to political parties.

Recently, there was a #shutdown campaign in the Makana Municipality as a result of problems that have dragged on for years, particularly potholes and lack of access to clean water. In 2020, the Grahamstown High Court ordered the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive to dissolve the...

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