The relationship of protest to democracy

Voter participation statistics certainly suggest that democracy is alive and kicking in Gauteng. However, at a deeper level democracy is also about the extent to which people who exist in marginalised spaces, people who are not educated, wealthy or influential, are enabled to exert influence on institutions and processes of democracy. A complex picture emerges at the level of the GCR in terms of recurrent levels of service delivery-related protest action in Gauteng and other provinces such as the Western Cape, North-West and Mpumalanga.

Protest action is often couched in the discourse of 'insurgent citizenship',* which posits the influence of a marginalised underclass with little or no access to resources or services or few legitimate avenues for public participation.