Political analysts say the recent spate of violent protests in the country is not surprising, particularly when leading up to the elections.

They say through these protests, residents are drawing the attention of authorities to their grievances.

In Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, residents protested against the mushrooming of illegal shacks, while in Bekkersdal on Gauteng’s West Rand, residents shut down the area over a lack of electricity.

In the North West, residents of the rural village of Khunwana, near Mahikeng, also embarked on protests for over a week.

Political analyst Dr Sethulego Matebesi says this is a trend. “This is quite an indicative of a trend which we have seen in a number of years with each elections where residents are using the elections as a bargaining tool to try and close the gap with a distance and non-responsive government. We may say that it is irrational perhaps to do it that way. But for these residents, this is the only means of power that they have to try and draw the attention of the government.”

His counterpart, from the North West University Professor Andre Duvenhage believes that this trend will impact negatively on the coming elections.

“The levels of government and conflict increased in a dramatic way over the past few weeks and it is a real concern, especially during a build up to an election. At the moment, if this is continuing I think there is definitely a risk that we are not going to have a free and fair election. There is no doubt in my mind that this is political in nature.”