Have protests in South Africa nearly doubled since 2010?
Researched by Mina Demian
News media have claimed that protests have nearly doubled in South Africa since 2010. But limitations in the way police record incidents such as protests mean their data cannot be used to substantiate the claim.
South African policemen stand guard as thousands of workers from several unions, under the leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the United Front, take part in a march to celebrate Labour Day in central Durban on May 1, 2015. Photo: AFP/RAJESH JANTILAL
South Africa’s economy is in a “huge mess”, and this is fueling social unrest, The Economist reported earlier this year.
“The [Institute for Race Relations], a think-tank in Johannesburg, says that protests have nearly doubled since 2010,” the magazine added.
The claim was also made by local website News24 and in a SABC News report.
Is it correct? To answer this, we need to distinguish between different definitions of a protest.