Protests are an integral part of many social, political and economic activities in societies all over the world, and the concept of protest is an on-going subject of scholarly endeavour. The occurrence of protests in South Africa, however, highlights significant deficit in meeting the huge expectations from a formerly disadvantaged majority of the population. The incidence of protests in the study area, in most cases, has been attributed to poor service delivery and the high expectations for improved social and economic development. While issues related to the delivery of basic services are attended to, the continued occurrence and increasing intensity of these protest incidents, has led to the argument that other factors are also at play. Two hundred and eighty respondents from three selected wards in the local municipality were randomly sampled, and three municipal officials were also interviewed to explore the factors influencing protest incidents in the study area. Findings from the study point to the profusion of unresolved community complaints coupled with slow-paced provision of services, intra-party disagreements among political factions in the municipal council, and crime-related incidents; as factors responsible for protests in the local municipality. The study shows the preponderance of disagreements among political party members as a leading cause for protest incidents, unrelated to the provision of basic services. Also, the demand for justice among victims of criminal incidents was found to be another reason for the increasing number of protest events in the Mbizana Local Municipality.
Keywords: Service delivery, Community complaints, Political disputes.