Professor Peter Alexander, South African Research Chair in Social Change and a professor of sociology at the University together with UJ colleagues, Dr Carin Runciman, a post-doctoral fellow in social change who specialises in the politics of protests and social movements in South Africa, and Mr Trevor Ngwane, a researcher in social change and doctoral student working in informal settlement committees, released their research findings highlighting the relationship of protest to elections.
Ngwane is also the political education and research officer of the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee. Prof Alexander is co-author of recently published books on Marikana: A View from the Mountain and a Case to Answer and on Class in Soweto, and is author of three peer-reviewed articles on the protests that were published internationally.
Their research focused on the following:
• Rising trend, with higher figures given than other researchers.
• Relationship of protests to elections.
• Issues raised by protesters, highlighting importance of housing.
• Breakdown of protests by ‘violent’, ‘disruptive’ and ‘peaceful’.
• Numbers of protesters reportedly killed by police, which totals NNN between 2005 and 2013 (excluding Marikana).
• Protesters’ explanations of protests, including triggers.
• What is to be done?